Deniliquin farmer Lachie Bull will soon be farming eels within his rice crop.November 16, 2012 4:48am
Conargo farmer Lachie Bull is on track to be the first farmer in Australia to be commercially producing eels in a rice crop.
The 31 year-old aims to have a 10ha trial site of short finned eels in a rice bay this season.
Licensing approval for NSW Fisheries is still pending, but Lachie is hopeful of starting the project before Christmas.
The innovative new venture will have two main benefits for his farming business — an additional source of income through the sale of eels and to maintain aquatic pest populations attacking his rice.
‘‘I wanted to take advantage of the system and wanted to try and value add to the rice crop,’’ he said.
‘‘The eels will also potentially eat blood worms and snails, keeping them off the rice.
‘‘This entire project stemmed from a curiosity and after noticing aquatic animals could survive in the rice bays.
‘‘There were fish, algae and other aquatic life, because it provides a fantastic wetland environment.’’
Lachie has been investigating the aquaculture idea for at least three years and sought advice from a friend who has some eel expertise.
‘‘After investigating the idea I realised fish were not the best idea because of the number of predators.
‘‘A friend of mine is an eel fisherman in Victoria, and through talking to him I decided to go with eels because they are a hardy and larger animal.
‘‘I don’t feel they have any natural predators in this region either, so I decided to go down that path.’’
Lachie said he would in effect be creating an eel feedlot during rice season.
At the 10ha trial site, he intends to stock 300kg to 400kg of eel per hectare.
They will remain in the rice bay water for at least four months.
Through the trial, Lachie hopes to determine whether the project will be a viable venture.
‘‘I need to get an understanding of how it all works before I continue with the investment,’’ he said.
‘‘I need to see if they will have the growth rate we expect and whether the food source is enough to sustain the eels for three to four months.’’
In the process of applying for the licensing required, Lachie has already placed fencing around the rice bays to ensure the eels are contained.
Lachie first introduced his potential project to colleagues at a rice conference earlier this year.
He said the interest in his project has been growing ever since, and that he has received tremendous support.
The eels for Lachie’s rice bays will be sourced from Victoria, where they are grown in a lake.
Short finned eels can grow up to an average of 1m long and 3kg in weight, although the Victorian Department of Primary Industries have reports of the animals growing to 6.8kg.
The eels prefer still waters such as lakes, dams and swamps and, if grown in clear water, are renowned for good eating.
St Mary of the Angels Secondary College Year 8 student Kelsey Hislop has taken out the junior public speaking award at Shepparton’s Legacy House.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons defeated Corowa Rutherglen Roos by 76 points at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
WITH volatile commodity markets, soaring costs for inputs and water prices not going down, life on the land right now is a little tough to take.
DES Church is bringing something he loves to Rochester.
Gift fundraiser is looking for toddler talent.
Local export Willie Wheeler dominating at VFL level
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
THE Heathcote Community will come together once again to honour the memory of car accident victim Georgia Edsall-French at a memorial day this Saturday.
Katamatite Lions Club held its 42nd annual handover dinner at the Boosey Creek Tavern on July 13.
Mathoura endured a harsh hammering to its playing confidence on Saturday with a 24-goal thrashing at the hands of Deniliquin Rovers.
SPC will abolish its internal sales team and reduce executive numbers in the latest chapter of the company’s ongoing restructuring.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.