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Monday 21 April 2014

Wine industry gives helping hand to struggling farmers

23rd July, 2013 by Rupert Millar

A wine processor in Australia’s New South Wales has offered its surplus grape marc to farmers in neighbouring Victoria who are struggling to find feed for their cattle.

cows-mainTarac Technologies, which recycles grape marc as well as solid and liquid waste from wineries, has around 42,000 tonnes of surplus marc which it is giving away for free.

The recycling into animal fodder – in the form of pellets or meal – is something Tarac does as part of the recycling process; it also converts wastes into soil conditioners.

However, with Australian farmers facing a severe food crisis this winter and finding itself with a surplus, it is more than happy to give farmers the extra for nothing – although they will have to cover the transportation costs.

Agriculture sales representative, Brenton Mangersen, said in a statement: “We’ve traditionally supplied it [marc] as a stock feed and we’re in a position where we have a surplus we’re willing to supply to anyone who wants to collect it.

“The offer is open to anyone. We can arrange freight or you can do that yourself.

“We’d only ask that you contact us during office hours to arrange transport or pick up through your own freight company.”

Peter Tuohey, president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that farmers in the region are, “really struggling to find hay supplies and it is really expensive and the other problem they have is the cartage bill, to wherever they get it from, costs them quite a bit of money.

“So this will hopefully spread the ration a bit further and maintain their stock.”

Costing around AU$60-$70 a tonne to transport, the VFF is currently lobbying the state government to help with trucking costs.

The story has parallels with the news last year that French and Canadian farmers were supplementing their cows’ diets with marc and then red wine in a bid to boost the flavour of the beef.

Australian scientists have also found a link between feeding cows marc and increased milk production.

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