Kerang’s Andre Henry has become the first recipient of the Nuffield Australian Alumni Scholarship, this year named in honour of Max Jelbart.
Mr Henry, who is supported by Australian Processing Tomato Growers, plans to investigate alternative uses for crop residues, focusing particularly on engineering and potential practical on-farm implementations.
‘‘Australian tomato growers are facing continually increasing wage and energy costs and the industry is already exploring alternative measures to try and maximise on-farm returns through yield, for example, injecting super saturated oxygen into irrigation water to reduce root zone hypoxia,’’ Mr Henry said.
‘‘I believe the issues confronting our industry need to be viewed in a different light, perhaps not just aiming to further enhance the yields of the primary product of the crop, but to develop a market and value for the by-products of what we already grow.
‘‘It also represents an area of potential growth when growers and processors are somewhat constrained, in terms of increasing yield or production, by a fairly consistent domestic market size.’’
Mr Henry hopes to look at what producers are doing around the world to utilise waste and determine if there is an option that could be successfully translated to Australia.
Mr Henry runs Glencoe Farms Australia, which sells fresh produce and manufactured products from his family operation, including tomatoes, wheat, barley and canola.
He is hoping to explore what producers are doing around the world to utilise waste, with plans to travel to Sweden, Germany, Norway, France, China, Italy and the United States.