Farmers relish mustard

A MULTIMILLION-dollar state-of-the-art agricultural facility will be built in the Riverina thanks to enterprising local farmers.

Following a series of information sessions, 60 per cent of Riverina farmers committed to growing mustard seeds, which convinced Australian Agricultural Technologies Ltd (AAT) to invest in the region.

AAT staff would not specify the location of the proposed development as negotiations were still ongoing, but The Area News believes Wumbulgal home of the new freight hub was being considered.

The Riverina was preferred to Parkes and Forbes in the central west district along with Condobolin and West Wyalong in the Lachlan Shire, but they will still be considered for future developments.

Hanwood and Willbriggie rice farmer Chint Quarisa was one of the farmers to put his hand up to give mustard a chance.

"I'm very excited about mustard because it gives farmers another crop that will fit in with the rice rotation and supply us with another form of income and it has a better return than canola," Mr Quarisa said.

"I can plant mustard in next year's rice ground and just go on rainfall because you get decent returns without watering it and that way if you don't get allocation in spring you haven't wasted six months of ground."

Despite his enthusiasm, Mr Quarisa needs clear skies for the next few weeks so the ground dries out sufficiently to plant a mustard crop.

"Unfortunately the plans are up in the air at the moment with all this rain," he said.

"It looks like there is two to three weeks of dry weather in front of us, so I will give the ground a chance to dry out and see if we can't get the rice off and plant mustard in next year's ground. If it keeps raining and I bog it all up that ground will just have to sit there until next spring when rice goes back in."

AAT will go to contract on a fixed price 15 per cent above the spot price on Canola at the point at which growers opt to lock in.

The capacity to pay a premium is made possible by higher gross income per tonne generated though extracting high value products which are on-sold for broad industrial use.

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