A Darling Downs father and daughter team who have developed a compost system emulating the blueprint of nature as close as possible has taken out the first ever Future Agro Challenge (FAC) in Australia.
Chris Cameron and daughter Catriona Dale, Platinum Compost, won the national leg held in Malanda recently, and will now contest the international competition in South Africa in 2017.
The pair entered the evergreen practises category with their idea that is designed to achieve premium quality, healthy, sustainable, crop production and sustainable regeneration of soil health and productivity.
Mr Cameron described the win as a “life changer”.
“Like most rural people, we have been through our fair share of tough times and it has been very tough trying to get this extremely well proven business up and running by ourselves,” Mr Cameron said.
The pair has devised a clean, sustainable, non-toxic method of addressing three main issues in agricultural soil, being a lack of organic matter or soil carbon, severe mineral shortages and the absence of beneficial biological population in most soil.
Their system uses a ruminant manure based compost which is blended with about 15 minerals designed specifically to address the shortages in the target soil, and finally a live biological culture is applied to the soil in order to start healthy in-ground processes.
FAC judge John Williams said the competition allowed local agricultural issues to be solved on a global scale.
“It’s amazing to see how diverse and insightful the challenge competitors applied their experiences and recognition of a need to develop products and services that could see success in overseas markets,” Mr Williams said.
“Collaboration, community, business smarts and passion – a great combination meant for success.”
FAC is a worldwide competition recognising innovative, commercially viable food and agribusiness start-ups that address regional, national and global challenges.
Leanne Kruss, Queensland Agricultural Workforce Manager for Far North Queensland and FAC Organiser for Start-up Tablelands, said the competition was a success.
“Being the first time this competition has happened for Australia we have a lot to learn and improve as we grow this annual event so that Australia can take its rightful place on the agricultural innovation global stage,” Ms Kruss said.
“Agriculture is one of our nation’s most technologically advanced sectors, yet many Australians are unaware of the revolution that is occurring on our farms.
“Agricultural innovation is one of our greatest contributions to develop solutions to global food security challenges and our primary industries have a strong tradition of being innovative and adaptive to new challenges.”