Unlocking the value of straw in new ag study

A group of enterprising grain growers in the Central Highlands will investigate the potential of converting industry waste into bio-energy fuel and other value-adding products, thanks to support from the Victorian Government.

Backed with $60,000 in funding from the Victorian Government’s Food Source Victoria Program, the project will involve a feasibility study and business case that may result in a $3 million Straw Pellet Plant being built in the region.

The study was launched in Beaufort by Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, Danielle Green, and aligns with the Victorian Government’s vision to support innovation in key regional industries.

The project focuses on developing a potentially lucrative new market for cereal stubble and straw – waste products that are usually mulched or burnt by grain growers.

Converting straw to energy already occurs in Europe so the project will assess whether it is possible to do something similar under Australian conditions.

If it does prove feasible, developing this hidden resource may provide additional income for grain growers and create new jobs in the region.

In addition to the Victorian Government funding, the project is also supported by local organisations including a grower’s consortium, Cultivate Agribusiness Central Highlands, the Pyrenees Shire Council and the City of Ballarat.

The $20 million Food Source Victoria Program supports regional Victorians working in agriculture and food production to enhance their business and export skills through training and professional development.

Food Source Victoria’s scholarship program helps individuals develop skills to meet the growing global demand for Victoria’s premium food products.

The program is open for applications.

The program is open for applications. People working in the food and fibre sector looking to collaborate and create new business opportunities are encouraged to contact food.source@ecodev.vic.gov.au or visit vic.gov.au/foodsource.