Industry

 

Agriculture

During the 1850's to 1880's land around the Ceduna area was one big sheep station.
In the 1890's farms were surveyed into one or two square mile blocks and clearance began to enable cereal crops to be grown and to improve pastures for grazing.

Ever since that period, consolidation of farms has occurred. Today in the 2000's the average size farm would be approx. 8,000 to 10,000 acres or 12 - 15 square miles.

The average farm would grow 2500 to 3000 acres of wheat, and would possibly have 1200 to 1800 sheep, and would also grow 400 to 600 acres of barley or oats. Triticale and cereal rye have been grown quite successfully. Merino sheep are predominately run for wool and meat production. Crossbred lambs are becoming more popular for meat production and some Damaras are also raised.

Wheat

Wheat is the main income earner for Ceduna farmers. Hard varieties, usually attract a higher price. Production of 12 to 14% protein is not uncommon, but to get the hard category, a farmer must record at least 11% protein. Australian Premium White (APW) wheat is the most common wheat grown, producing around 11 to 13% protein. Australian Standard White (ASW) varieties are also grown, quite often yielding more but recording lower protein, therefore not attracting as high a price.

The average yield is approx. 5 bags to the acre or 1 tonne to the hectare. The price per tonne over the past 20 years has varied between $120 and $280, depending on world demand. There is approx. 12 bags in a tonne. Wheat is sown preferably in May and June each year. Farmers are trying to eliminate the risk of soil erosion caused by wind, by adopting minimum tillage and stubble retention methods but it is not always possible to eliminate all of the risk.

Severe weather events can make cereal growing a challenge as the average rainfall is only about 300mm. Grain is harvested in

November and December. The grain is delivered to the local port of Thevenard where it is predominantly exported oversees to the Middle East and Asia.

Barley

Some barley is grown in the area, most of it going to the feed market, but some malting barley is grown for beer production. This is usually decided by the seasonal conditions determining the protein level. Ideally 9.5 to 11% protein is needed to attract malting grade, but with the relatively short growing period, this is not always possible and protein levels are much higher, therefore suitable for feed.

Oats

Some oats are grown, usually sown into wheat stubbles. If the crop is kept free of foreign grain the weight of the grain is over 52kg per hectolitre, then it is possible to attract milling grade. This can be used for rolled oats and then in turn porridge or the like. Most of the oats grown is feed grade and is used for stock feed, either sold to the marketing boards or kept on farm for sheep feed.

Sheep and Wool

Sheep are an important part of the farming enterprise. They are raised mainly for wool production. The wool produced in the area would average about 22 to 23 micron with younger sheep producing 19 to 21 micron. Predominantly merino sheep are run. Shearing occurs on an annual basis at any time of the year but the majority of the shearing is done in the cooler months from June to September. Some farmers are shearing outside of these months as it fits their program better.

After shearing, excess sheep are sold off to the meat trade or grazier demand. Older ewes are quite often used to mate crossbred rams to produce lambs for the meat trade as an alternative enterprise.

During the downturn of wool prices in the 1990's some farmers introduced Damaras into their program as an alternative to wool production. These sheep are sold to the meat trade and have attracted some good prices.


Aquaculture

Oysters OrangeThe aquaculture industry on Eyre Peninsula in recent years has grown dramatically in the farming of a range of species, and the Far West Coast has been no exception. The oyster industry has been established for 10 years in Denial Bay and Smoky Bay. Ceduna is the second and Smoky Bay the third largest producing areas of oysters in the state. There is significant potential for the further expansion of the aquaculture industry in the area. For more information on the local oyster industry please see the link under community information.

It is expected that in the near future there will be a demand for the diversification of the aquaculture industry in the Smoky Bay, Ceduna and the nearby offshore island region. A range of other species such as scallops, finfish and abalone are already being considered by interested investors.


Mining

The two largest mining commodities being exported through the Port of Thevenard is salt and gypsum. The region has the largest deposit of gypsum in the Southern Hemisphere with 1.2 million tonnes being exported per annum. An average yield of 100,000 tonnes of salt per year is exported through the Port of Thevenard to the Eastern States of Australia and overseas.

Over the past few years there has been increased interest in the nearby Gawler Craton for mining potential. An airborne geophysical survey discovered an extraordinary magnetic anomaly, which was found in the Yumbarra Conservation Park (approximately 30 kms to the north of Ceduna). This has been recognised generally as one of the most significant anomalies ever found in the State.

Some exploration is currently being undertaken by companies to determine the mining potential of the region.


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