09 Dec Review of Agricultural Land Use Opportunities
PeritusAg was contracted to provide a report assessing the potential opportunity for our client to expand its farming operations at a rundown former livestock operation with no history of high-value horticultural production.
What we did:
The business plan for the farming group has a focus on year-round production and supply of fresh strawberries for the domestic market. The aim was to complement the client’s existing 12-month supply of produce by drawing from difference geographic locations throughout Queensland. A physical assessment of the soils and location comprised taking a sample from the top 300mm of soil for chemical analysis and digging a soil pit to a depth of one metre. The soil pit was used to identify significant changes in soil type by depth and to provide an indication of any restrictions to root development. An investigation into water sources and supply focused on the main alluvial flat fields, that were already cleared or mostly cleared of trees, existing irrigation infrastructure, creek pump sites and bore pumps. A review of climate, including rainfall, temperature and humidity, was also undertaken. As our client had also identified opportunities to diversify crop categories and commenced plans to include some organic produce into the business, we were required to a focus on a range of strategic components including appropriate location, management of risks and the organic certification transition process for farmed fields.
The review found there were no climatic conditions that would limit the opportunity for high-value horticultural production at the proposed location. The three water sources available also provided sound risk management against potential impact to crop production from drought or water allocation reductions and restrictions. We found the ability to blend different water quality sources, to bulk out the existing high-quality water volume, could be critical in years of drought or reduced creek flows. We also determined there were no significant concerns relating to the soil type or chemical analysis that would prevent production and that the crop types to be grown were already well established in both the Fassifern and Lockyer valleys nearby. We concluded this property was ideally suited to expanding our client’s operations, both in terms of increasing the scale of key categories and adding new categories both domestically and internationally.