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QCFA NEWSLETTER – Mid year 2017

For a start I would to finish off a few things from last Newsletter:
QFF pointed out that as we were not members of their organisation, they were reluctant to continue publishing my bulletins in their “10 Things”. This sparked consideration as to whether we should join. To cut a long story short, considering our limited financial position and the fact that the lowest rung on the ladder was $1000 per year (only available for the first 2 years then increasing to $5000) plus there being some doubt about the benefits, it was decided not advisable to go ahead.

The proposed workshops were a flop. In spite of the extensive promotional effort, the end result was 3 people at the NQ workshop (1 serious) and one applicant from SQ who I was not prepared to drive 3000km (at my own expense) to talk to. I just don’t get this and I will return to it later.

The sequel to “Getting Started”, due for publication about now, stalled due to the author building houses and moving into them and out of others. Target is now mid 2018.

OK – moving on to the present:

Research levy collected from feed and S3J sales is a consistent flow since last newsletter – the great majority from NQ farmers. Together with book sales, it is running at approximately $5000 per year and building our research fund to a significant amount.  It is important that everyone supports our research effort as all farmers benefit.

There is still a steady stream of responses to our website, resulting in book sales being constant at one a week and overseas sales enquiries about the same. The latest being a chap exporting to China who asked me to put him in contact with a “small to medium farmer, as I only need a few tonnes per shipment”!!

With these sales opportunities going begging, the constant interest in the industry and the proven successes of our existing farmers it beggars me why people aren’t flooding into the redclaw industry. There is a trickle of major farm enquiries – most from overseas, but a couple from Queensland enterprises. Thought is being given to a guide for the development of a major (50-100 ha water) farm. But should it be the final chapter of this next book or a book of its own?? And who has the vision to write it!!!??

We were invited to submit an article to Aquafeed International magazine, a mag published in England and distributed world wide to some 40,000 subscribers in the aquaculture industry. The resulting article is posted in the ‘Contacts – Information Files’ section of our website. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase our industry and raise its profile across the globe. They have asked for a follow up article later in the year.

Speaking of raising our profile, NQCFA President Colin Valverde was invited to speak at the annual ABARES conference in Canberra a couple of months ago. His presentation “Potential for productivity gains: innovative new technology for hatchery raised juvenile redclaw crayfish” was well received and sparked several personal approaches from members of the audience. The focus was on simply presenting the redclaw industry to a large audience of agricultural leaders, economists and government at the Canberra Convention Centre. The presentation generated a lot of interest and introduced redclaw aquaculture to an influential audience who would have probably known very little about redclaw.

At the last QCFA AGM it was agreed to contribute $2000 towards a feasibility study being organised by NQ farmer Joe Maurer into the development of a commercial habitat. A consultant firm specialising in the design of such quaint and unusual objects was engaged and given a list of guidelines. The resulting proposed designs were many and interesting, but none completely ticked all the boxes. However the project reignited interest in this age old problem and caused people to look at it in a new light. Some new designs of habitat are being trialled and costed based on varying sizes of drain coil – watch this space!

The annual QCFA AGM is running late due to other pressures on the delegates, but the latest best guess is October, probably somewhere in the bottom (polite) end of the State.

John Stevenson – President QCFA.

 

Report from NQCFA President, Colin Valverde:

Updates on Research Projects:

To examine factors for post-hatchery craylings PhD research student, Damian Rigg, has established an experimental facility at JCU Cairns consisting of a dedicated laboratory on-campus. Progress has been slower than expected as the facility has had several iterations to optimise it for the intended research. The small size and behaviour of the craylings caused problems with the facility requiring adjustment to manage the craylings effectively. Hopefully we can report some interesting progress this time next year.

Also, two on-farm pond based trials at Ironbark Redclaw were scheduled for the last grow-out season, but only one was completed successfully.

Preliminary results of grow-out trials of craylings over a 6 week period gave an average survival of over 70% with an average weight of around 2 grams after 6 weeks. To our surprise the results confirmed that feeding craylings within the hatchery showed no growth difference to craylings that had not been fed prior to stocking.

NQCFA has subsequently supported JCU financially and in-kind to secure an internal JCU grant to continue the identification and study of the impacts of the two newly named viruses. JCU can now confirm that they have successfully mapped the RNA of 2 viruses new to science.  At this stage it appears that these viruses are endemic to all redclaw populations. Testing will soon be underway to determine what effect they have on redclaw growth, survival. It looks very likely that this is exactly the agent/factor that we have been looking for to explain our stress related mortalities in broodstock and handled/transported redclaw!

Masters student Jenifer Brand’s completed her dissertation detailing all the research done to date regarding temnocephalids.

We now have positive proof that the newly discovered Temnocephlid worm do in fact predate on crayfish eggs, adversely affecting egg survival as suspected by a hatchery operator.  The stomach contents of the worms were found to contain the same lipids as redclaw eggs and many of the eggs examined showed significant damage caused by the Temnocephalid. However, it’s been difficult to quantify exactly how many eggs were compromised and what effect this has on juvenile recruitment.

 

March 2017 News Bulletin

2017 REDCLAW WORKSHOPS
Based on the response to the proposed Redclaw Workshop Roadshow, two workshops will be held:

NQ -25th March – Ross and Wendy Martin’s ‘Rocky Creek Redclaw’ farm and hatchery, 419 Marnane Rd., Tolga, Atherton Tableland. Ph. 0427 688 171

CQ – 22nd April – Peter and Shelley Beldan’s ‘Rocky Waterholes Redclaw’, 36 Old Rocky Waterholes Road,  (off Peak Downs Highway) Walkerston. via Mackay. Ph. 0417 634 457

Both workshops will commence at 8am   –   Please download registration form here:
2017 W’shops rego form

 

January 2017 News Bulletin

A Queensland wide Redclaw Workshops Roadshow for prospective farmers is planned for early this year. The North Queensland workshop is planned for 25th March and workshops in areas south of Proserpine for 22nd  and 29th April and 6th May. The actual venues will be decided according the number and location of responders.

The workshop will be an all day affair at a cost of $88.00 and $55.00 for additional persons attending from the same family. Lunch and smokos are included.

The content of the workshop will be aimed at people interested in getting into redclaw farming, explaining the basics of site selection, farm construction etc., and include a report of the results of our ongoing research program. There will be ample opportunity to have all your questions answered.

People interested in attending the workshop please send expressions of interest to info@queenslandredclaw.org  by 28 February. Include your name, number of persons attending, your location and contact details. Anyone without internet can phone 0418 732 546.

An application form will be sent to you by the 8th March including payment details and the location of your workshop and confirming the date and time. Return of the application form and payment is required by 20th March

It is not known when another such event will be able to be held, so take this opportunity!

 

October 2016 News Bulletin

At the NQCFA October meeting, a report was presented containing the final results of the feed implementation trials. The meeting voted to adopt the ‘Standard’ formulation on the basis of performance and cost until such time that more advanced knowledge was available. The report is available at Contacts – Information Files on this website.

The QCFA has been active in the area of raising the profile of the Redclaw Industry. Recent articles in the QFF ‘10 Things to Know’ initiative led to a segment on the ABC’s Rural Hour and a great article in ‘Rural News’. We have been invited to speak at the upcoming ABARE Conference in the ‘Marketing Innovations for Emerging Industries’ segment.

Interest in the industry is on the rise. The largest farm in the state has just been sold. The new owners are investors planning a serious expansion and have advertised for a manager. Another major farm could well be changing hands soon.  Overseas interests are talking seriously about a 100 tonnes per year farm for direct export. Sales enquiries from overseas are going begging – some up to 50 tonnes a year.

If anyone hears of live crayfish of any breed being imported to Australia, please do let us know. It is illegal without a permit and there is a real threat of introducing Crayfish Plague to this country which has the potential to wipe out crayfish populations.

 

May 2016 News Bulletin

QCFA AGM: The annual AGM of the Queensland Crayfish Farmers Association was held at the farm of the SQCFA president just north of Gympie on the 19th March. It was attended by a full complement of delegates from each branch.

The President reported that interest in our industry is high, as evidenced by the number of enquiries being received from our website. Sales of our book “Redclaw Farming – Getting Started” are continuing at the rate of about one per week. The industry is in a healthy state with farmers working together and encouraging new entrants to the industry. Several prospective farmers are in the process of assembling information and reorganising their lives, while a couple have advanced to the stage of developing farms.

Many subjects associated with the industry’s pathway to the future were discussed and future progress planned. Presentations on the progress of current research projects were explained.

JSCNA: We have received the report of the findings of the Joint Senate Committee for Northern Australia discussed in the last bulletin. Their recommendations include FRDC to establish a ‘Northern Node’; Building roads in the Kimberly; establishing a pest and disease facility in NQ.  It seems, if acted upon, none will have a real impact on our industry short term, but at least we have been presented with an opportunity to put our case forward.

FEED PROJECT: The project has been completed and the result implemented. The new feed is made to a formulae that takes best advantage of the latest knowledge available regarding the optimum diet required by Redclaw. Advances in production methods have made it possible to produce a pellet that has an acceptable degree of water stability. It is available from Advanced Rural in Tolga and will be available from a SQ mill shortly.

NQCFA MEETING: The meeting was held at Joe Maurer’s farm on 7th May. Two new prospective farmers were welcomed. The meeting witnessed a practical demonstration of the physical properties of the new feed and the economic advantages were explained. The meeting decided to pursue our Research Program with a Redclaw Tracking project.

January 2016 News Bulletin

RESEARCH NEWS

  • The five year Feeding and Nutrition Project is finished and the final report sent to RIRDC on 30 December 2015. We are now working with feed mills in Tolga and Gympie to work out the practical details of implementing the supply of the improved feed to the farmers. Making our own feed bags to make the feed easily identifiable was just one step in this process. Plans are in the making for a series of meetings with all branch members to explain the benefits to be gained from the new feed. These should happen in March-April and all farmers will be welcome. Details will be published here as well as disseminated through the QCFA branches.
  • The Survival Project, it is fair to say, is uncovering more questions than answers as yet, but that is the nature of research. There are a lot of people putting a lot of effort into this project, as its success will benefit the industry on many fronts. Fortunately RIRDC understand this and their backing is invaluable. At this stage, JCU people are working through new information as it is discovered.
  • The combined results of our Research Program are proving a positive for the industry. Our effort to develop an improved strain of Redclaw, feed them a better diet and keep them in better health is certainly a tremendous step forward

INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT NEWS

  • Our “Operation Kickstart” initiated in 2013 is starting to bear fruit. Interest in our book “Redclaw Farming – Getting Started” is continuing and feedback from people who have purchased it have been nothing but positive. There are several prospective farmers going through the process of buying land and getting approvals which will translate into production increases in a year or two. All branches report an increase in membership. Demand for our product is continuing to be strong.
  • We have managed to attract the attention of the JSCNA (Joint Select Committee for Northern Australia) by preparing written submissions and appearing before the Committee at a hearing to answer their questions. Our feeling is that results from this will not occur overnight, however our name is up there with others seeking a slice of the $5B pie. Time will tell.
  • Our hatcheries are working hard in collaboration with researchers to lift productivity in an effort to meet rising demand for S3J. The farmers who have converted to ‘S3J Farming’ report success with production results and appreciate the simplicity the farming method has allowed.

WORKSHOPS ROUNDUP – 1st June 2014

Well, the workshops are done and dusted and I must say I am pleased to be home after 4 weeks on the road! Twenty six keen prospective redclaw farmers attended and went away carrying a positive frame of mind.
To the person (who will remain unnamed) who thought a shovel was necessary to collect “berried” females, thankyou for being the highlight of the trip!
For those people who missed the workshops the newly published book, “Redclaw Farming – Getting Started” upon which the workshops were based is available, along with some other literature, by contacting our ‘info’ address.
The industry will now push on with its next objective of developing a feasibility study for attracting major players into redclaw farming and also planning the implementation of the results of the current Feeding and Nutrition project due for completion next year.


Conference Summary

Redclaw Revolution Conference

Lauren Oehme, Research Program Co-ordinator from RIRDC presenting at the Conference

The Redclaw Revolution Conference held in Cairns on the 25th October, 2013, was a spectacular success.  The event was well attended with a total of 65 attendees, 30 of whom were prospective new redclaw farmers. Attendees travelled from as far away as the Northern Territory, New Zealand, and South East Asia.