During the 1850s to 1880s land around the Ceduna area was one big sheep station. In the 1890s farms were surveyed into one or two square mile blocks and clearance began to enable cereal crops to be grown and to improve pastures for grazing. Ever since that period, consolidation of farms has occurred.
Today in the 2000s, the average size farm would be approx. 8,000 to 10,000 acres or 12 - 15 square miles. The average farm would grow 2500 to 3000 acres of wheat, and would possibly have 1200 to 1800 sheep, and would also grow 400 to 600 acres of barley or oats. Triticale and cereal rye have been grown quite successfully.
Merino sheep are predominately run for wool and meat production. Crossbred lambs are becoming more popular for meat production and some Damaras are also raised.
Wheat is the main income earner for Ceduna farmers. Hard varieties usually attract a higher price. Production of 12% to 14% protein is not uncommon, but to get the hard category, a farmer must record at least 11% protein. Australian Premium White (APW) wheat is the most common wheat grown, producing around 11% to 13% protein. Australian Standard White (ASW) varieties are also grown, quite often yielding more but recording lower protein, therefore not attracting as high a price.
The average yield is approx 5 bags to the acre or 1 tonne to the hectare. The price per tonne over the past 20 years has varied between $120 and $280, depending on world demand. There is approx 12 bags in a tonne.
Wheat is sown preferably in May and June each year. Farmers are trying to eliminate the risk of soil erosion caused by wind, by adopting minimum tillage and stubble retention methods but it is not always possible to eliminate all of the risk. Severe weather events can make cereal growing a challenge as the average rainfall is only about 300mm.
Grain is harvested in November and December. The grain is delivered to the local port of Thevenard where it is predominantly exported overseas to the Middle East and Asia.
Some barley is grown in the area, most of it going to the feed market, but some malting barley is grown for beer production. This is usually decided by the seasonal conditions determining the protein level. Ideally 9.5% to 11% protein is needed to attract malting grade, but with the relatively short growing period, this is not always possible and protein levels are much higher, therefore suitable for feed.
Some oats are grown, usually sown into wheat stubbles. If the crop is kept free of foreign grain the weight of the grain is over 52 kg per hectolitre, then it is possible to attract milling grade. This can be used for rolled oats and then in turn porridge or the like. Most of the oats grown is feed grade and is used for stock feed, either sold to the marketing boards or kept on farm for sheep feed.
Sheep and Wool
Sheep are an important part of the farming enterprise. They are raised mainly for wool production. The wool produced in the area would average about 22 to 23 micron with younger sheep producing 19 to 21 micron. Predominantly merino sheep are run.
Shearing occurs on an annual basis at any time of the year but the majority of the shearing is done in the cooler months from June to September. Some farmers are shearing outside of these months as it fits their program better.
After shearing, excess sheep are sold off to the meat trade or grazier demand. Older ewes are quite often used to mate crossbred rams to produce lambs for the meat trade as an alternative enterprise. During the downturn of wool prices in the 1990s some farmers introduced Damaras into their program as an alternative to wool production. These sheep are sold to the meat trade and have attracted some good prices.
The aquaculture industry on Eyre Peninsula in recent years has grown dramatically in the farming of a range of species, and the Far West Coast has been no exception. The oyster industry has been established for 10 years in Denial Bay and Smoky Bay. Ceduna is the second and Smoky Bay the third largest producing areas of oysters in the state. There is significant potential for the further expansion of the aquaculture industry in the area. For more information on the local oyster industry please click here. It is expected that, in the near future, there will be a demand for the diversification of the aquaculture industry in the Smoky Bay, Ceduna and the nearby offshore island region. A range of other species such as scallops, finfish and abalone are already being considered by interested investors.
How Does An Oyster Grow?
The oyster farmer purchases spat (baby oysters) from Tasmania, which are air freighted to their destination. They are put in specially made, small aperture, fully enclosed, plastic mesh trays and placed onto the leases. From the spat trays, juvenile oysters are graded and oyster eats algae as it breathes, by pumping water in and out of its valves, filtering between 6 and 20 litres of water per hour through their systems. Water flow is very important and the mesh of the baskets is only slightly smaller than the oyster, to allow maximum water replacement.
Oysters are graded from 6 to 8 times before they are sold. To grade them, baskets of oysters are removed from racks in the water and taken on specially designed oyster punts to nearby processing sheds, where they are placed on a shaking platform which grades them into different sizes. They are graded and returned to the racks within 24 hours. On average, it takes two years for an oyster to grow from spat to adult size.
SA oysters are the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea Gigas. When you buy oysters, they should have a juicy, creamy, plump appearance and be plenty of meat to the amount of shell, and have season. The prime time in SA to buy good quality oysters is from March-April to December. In SA, oysters spawn in December or January with hot weather the biggest factor. During the 24 hours that oysters spawn, the male and female release eggs and sperm into the water. Spawning leaves the oyster meat clear, with a glassy appearance and a lower meat to shell ratio. Oyster farms on the Far West Coast are in a designated "Shellfish Zone". This means they are approved shellfish harvesting areas according to the requirements of the Australian Shellfish Sanitation Control Programme.
Since 1987, the SA Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA) has represented oyster growers across the State and has done much to set quality and size standards in the industry. They also organise training programmes and hold field days that look at all aspects of oyster growing. Back....
Oyster Growers say - " Remember - Oyster eaters love longer..."
MATT'S POINT OYSTERS
1/4 cup water
1 chicken cube
1 chopped onion
1 tspn sugar
1 crushed clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 chopped red capsicum
Melt butter in pan and cook onion, garlic and capsicum. Add water, cube, sugar and juice. Simmer until reduced. Spoon over oysters and bake 8-10 mins in moderate oven. Can be used chilled over natural oysters.
PT BELL OYSTERS
1 chopped onion
2 tbsp butter
sm tin sliced champignons
cup white wine
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup cream
1 tspn Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice freshly ground pepper.
Melt butter and cook onion, add champignons and wine. Beat yolks and cream together and slowly add to onion mixture. Add pepper, juice and sauce. Cook until thickened, add oysters and heat through.
At the beach with no sauce ingredients available? Just throw your oysters in the shell onto a barbecue plate or on the coals. They are cooked when they open and are delicious!
1-2 chicken stock cubes
6 crushed cloves garlic
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cream freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
Mix stock cubes in saucepan with water and add garlic, cream, pepper and lemon juice. Simmer until thickened, spoon over oysters and bake in moderate oven 8-10 minutes.
MURAT BAY MAGIC
3 tbsp brandy
1 cup chopped mushrooms
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cream
Melt butter and cook mushrooms. Drain. Pour brandy over mushrooms, add cream and heat until sauce is reduced. Add oysters, pepper and nutmeg. Heat through, only for a few minutes till edge of oysters curl, and serve hot.
juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped almonds
freshly ground black pepper
5 tbsp Galliano liqueur
1 tspn lemon rind
Melt butter and when very hot, toss in almonds. Stir until golden, then add Galliano, rind and lemon juice. Simmer until thickened. Take off heat, add mint and pepper. Spoon over oysters and bake 8-10 minutes.
Taken from "The World's Your Oyster" recipe book produced locally by Angie Bayly and Sue Trewartha.
Fresh oysters are available from local oyster farmers at Denial and Smoky Bay, The Oyster Bar, Smoky Bay Caravan Park and General Store. Try Some!
The two largest mining commodities being exported through the Port of Thevenard is salt and gypsum. The region has the largest deposit of gypsum in the Southern Hemisphere with 1.2 million tonnes being exported per annum. An average yield of 100,000 tonnes of salt per year is exported through the port of Thevenard to the eastern states of Australia and overseas. Over the past few years there has been increased interest in the nearby Gawler Craton for mining potential. An airborne geophysical survey discovered an extraordinary magnetic anomaly in the Yumbarra Conservation Park (approximately 30 kms to the north of Ceduna). This has been recognised generally as one of the most significant anomalies ever found in the State. Some exploration is currently being undertaken by companies to determine the mining potential of the region.
New mineral sands mining is expected to commence during 2010 at the Jacinth - AMbrosia mine, nowrth west of Ceduna. Please see Council's fact sheets for more information.