Farmers in the Orange-Young regions are thinking laterally with two new projects:
A ‘cottage group’ bio-diesel plant
A group of four farmers in the Orange region is reported to be ‘doing something’ about the skyrocketing price for diesel. They have built a bio-diesel plant at Blayney that can process up to 4,000 litres a day. The basis of the fuel is used fat from fish and chip shops and they have also used canola oil from a local plant.
One of the farmers, Ed Wilson, says you notice a number of changes when you use bio-diesel.The revs on the tractor go up a but there is about a 10 per cent reduction in power and the exhaust smells like fish and chips.
The cost of using the waste oil is about 40 cents a litre, but the cost goes up to over $1 if new canola oil is used. The group claims bio diesel emits 30 times less pollution then petrol diesel.
The group aims to grow most of their own canola this year for their fuel needs as well as sourcing waste oil from fast food stores. They also aim to have a canola crushing plant on site to produce the canola oil.
Cherry juice from fruit usually dumped?
A group of orchardists in the Orange district is in the final stages of developing cherry juice from second grade fruit – a new product in Australia. They say cherries are becoming known for their health benefits and they have had talks with a sports drink company, and also a company in the Middle East – about exporting the juice.
An American study has found cherries can:
The processing plant is being partially funded by a Federal Government grant. The growers hope to juice more than 100 tonnes this year, with full processing taking place at harvest in November and December of 2006.