Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.02.2002

DARLING DOWNS GROWER SHOWS IT CAN BE DONE

VETERAN Toowoomba seed and grain merchant Eric Robinson of the 127 -year-old Annand Robinson Company (AR) had his organic 'road to Damascus' conversion 10 years ago and has been working on growing the organic soybean option in the northern region. He recently signed a six-year contract with Vita Soy to supply organic culinary soybeans for milk and tofu production to the company's new $36 million processing plant in Albury.

"Australia is seen as clean and green and the organic soybean market is set to take off - I'm looking to supply 4,000t to Vita Soy from this region this season." He says growers will make the extra effort to earn $900/t on-farm paid in 30 days with a 10 per cent allowance for admixture.

"But they must become certified for organic paddocks and pass all quality standards and specifications. I know sucking insects will be a threat, but I'm told a worm cast-based solution made by a Casino (NSW) business looks very promising as a natural repellent for GVB," he said.

Mr Robinson is ready to support growers during their 'conversion' - the three-year transition period required to gain organic accreditation, provided all soil properties are satisfactory. These growers will qualify for $600/t during this period for acceptable quality, high-protein and high milk varieties.

AR says it plans to build a new testing, grading and packaging facility with 5,000 tonnes of storage on a greenfield site outside Toowoomba.

Program 5 Contact: Mr Phil Brodie 07 4630 1944; Mr Eric Robinson 07 4632 2688