Carag Carag (south-west of Stanhope) composting business biomix officially opened its new compost production facility on Wednesday with the processed compost being used on farms to save water and reduce fire risk.
Colbinabbin Estate vineyard manager Colin Neate, who uses the company’s compost, said the compost was much safer to use than straw mulch.
‘‘We wanted to get off the straw mulch even though straw is readily available to us ... but the fire risk was just too great,’’ he said.
‘‘We wanted to embrace a compost that was less fire prone and that we thought might be more beneficial for us.
‘‘On the trunk lines where we are spreading the compost, we are (also) locking more natural moisture in the soil and stopping evaporation,’’ Mr Neate said.
‘‘On the vines we don’t have compost, we are using 1Ml of water per hectare. Where we are trialling it, we are using half (that amount).’’
Stanhope’s Bob Holschier agreed it was a positive for farmers in the region.
‘‘We heard that it helps water retention, which is a huge asset alone. Farmers are looking to save every drop.’’
The new enclosed vessels, which are part of a $12million investment, allow the business to accept different kinds of waste, such as food and garden organics, which require that processing be done in enclosed vessels under EPA guidelines.
‘‘All six vessels will come on line in the coming months,’’ biomix operations manager Paul Newcombe said.
‘‘The in-vessel compost facility is a great addition to the existing open windrow method for providing a quality product helping solve customers’ soil problems,’’ he said.
The company’s managing director Jackie Yong said she expected in the coming years to more than double the current 66000tonnes of material that the company is permitted to process.