Organic produce demand surges

Lockyer Valley Organics is receiving 400 per cent increase in demand for organic produce

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Agricultural Minister Mark Furner with Anthony Bauer, owner of Lockyer Valley Organics. Picture: Helen Walker

Agricultural Minister Mark Furner with Anthony Bauer, owner of Lockyer Valley Organics. Picture: Helen Walker

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Organic producers reap the benefits as demand increases.

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Australia's organic certification bodies are adapting their auditing processes as the COVID-19 crisis pushes a huge surge in demand for organic grain, dairy, fruit, vegetables and beef.

In certified organic horticulture, tractors, pickers and packers are working around the clock to maintain demand from major supermarkets.

Owner of Lockyer Valley Organic, Anthony Bauer said his vegetables were going in one side of his shed, washed, packed and straight onto a truck for distribution.

"We are currently experiencing a 400 per cent increase in demand for organic produce," Mr Bauer said.

"We have increased our plantings and have plenty of vegetables available. The growing conditions in the Lockyer Valley are perfect, yields and quality will be exceptional."

CEO of Global Organic Exchange, Australia's leading specialty grain trading operation, Peter Hastie said demand for certified organic grain remains at an all-time high.

"Our phones are running hot with clients seeking certified organic grain of all specifications - we have certainly seen an unprecedented spike for milling grains and supplementary feeds for all types of livestock in recent weeks," he said.

"We are working closely with broadacre operators to expand the supply going forward. We are literally going farm by farm chasing all types of grains of any volume from silos all over the country.

"On the back of a less than optimum harvest in 2019, much of this demand now simply will not become available until after this year's winter crop harvest, subject to a reasonable season.

"Recently, with the hike in demand from millers, organic dairy farmers and organic livestock producers, we have seen sustained pressure on market pricing at a time in the cycle where traditionally we would see some softening across all specifications. We simply need more grain."

Organic red meat producers who managed to retain livestock during the drought are also reaping rewards with prices.

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