Pastured Poultry Industry unites to mitigate Avian Flu risk

Pastured Poultry Industry unites to mitigate Avian Flu risk

ORICoop hosted an impromptu online presentation regarding the current Avian Flu outbreak that was attended by Pastured Poultry producers around Australia.  Thanks particularly to Karen Gurney from Redsun Nutrition, Paolo Crofts from Tall Poppy Farm and Venu from Melbourne Eggs.  And thanks to the event sponsors NASAA and Organic Industries of Australia

Karen Gurney – Biosecurity Best Practice

Ensuring sufficient quantities of ingredients are available to meet your feed requirements on an ongoing basis.

Grains and proteins make up the bulk of the feed composition and as farming crops they are dependent on climatic conditions.  Both floods and droughts affect the quality, the energy and protein content of the grain or seed. The poultry industry has a large demand for soybean meal, and the local production volume does not meet this requirement, so it is imported.  With the spotlight on sustainability, we are looking at replacements for soybean meal, especially locally grown crops.  There is a lot of nutrition research covering what ingredients and how much can be fed to broilers and layers to maintain performance.

Micro ingredients usually come from overseas.  Supply can be affected by shipping, freight and production issues in different countries.  Interruption to the supply chain was severe during the covid years and still is not back to being reliable.  We have been advised the coming Q3 and Q4 months will have supply delays due to shipping. 

The requirement for organic grains and protein sources is even more difficult as the production volumes are much less than non-organic.  We are always looking to the next harvest, looking for new farmers to grow organic crops, keeping track of new research, new crop rotational practices to improve soil and yields.

A few years ago, the local crop volumes were low, we had to source from overseas and this required strict exemption from the certifying bodies to allow us to do that.  We needed to do this to keep feeding the birds, with welfare being our priority.

FEED NUTRITION white chooks

There are a few parts to this.  First is the nutrients required by the bird, as a growing pullet and as an egg producing hen.  During these stages and throughout life, the nutrient requirements of poultry change.  They depend on genetics and breed, age, sex (males for broilers or breeder sires), body weight, reproductive state, ambient temperature, housing system, range activity, health status, and production aims of egg numbers or egg size.

The 2nd part to nutrition is the nutrient intake.  This is affected by the nutrient composition of the feed and the amount eaten.  Ingredient quality, feed form as a pellet or mash, contamination can affect the amount of feed eaten.  For egg layers, the aim is to maximise egg production at minimum feed cost, while controlling egg size and egg quality.  

It is important to always know your feed intake so that either the feed intake or the ration specifications can be adjusted to meet the hen’s requirements.  For example, a young pullet coming into lay will be eating 70 – 80 grams/day, at 25 weeks she will be eating around 115g/day and then as she ages and produces eggs that will be 125g to 145g/day.  Usually, we will feed at least 3 different feeds; early, mid and late layer rations all with very different nutrient specifications.  When only one ration is fed for the whole of production, it gets a bit trickier and the hens are often fed ad lib to allow them to regulate their intake.

The 3rd part is the nutrients.  Carbohydrates are the main source of energy, provided by cereal grains.  Fats and oils provide energy and essential fatty acids. Proteins and the amino acids that make up protein and are used mainly for tissue growth, feather growth, egg production. Vitamins and minerals are required for normal health, growth and production, they are required for many physiological processes in the body.


This covers the feeding of safe feed. Some questions to consider how they relate to your farm;

  • Is your feed all made on your farm?
  • Do any feed components come onto your farm from a 3rd party? 
  • Do you know all your suppliers’ biosecurity policies? Do they have a policy?
  • For truck deliveries, did that truck also deliver to other poultry farms?  On the same day?  Was the truck cleaned before delivering your feed? (Noting that AI is active for up to 14 days)
  • For grains coming onto your farm, do you ask for the “grain cartage certificate” that shows the 3 previous deliveries?  Do you consciously register the dates, times and locations of the previous deliveries and their proximity to your farm?  Take a photo of the certificate if it is not left with you. 
  • Feed storage – is it all sealed with no access to wild birds?  Are all feed spillages cleaned up when they occur?
  • When feed is fed out, do the hens eat it all with nothing remaining for wild birds?
  • Do you know that your main threats are exposure to wild birds through free ranging and wild birds congregating around waterways.
  • Do you notice wild birds, especially ducks on your farm?  Are there many, or just a few?  Where do they congregate? Do you notice any droppings outside your range areas?  
  • What are your plans for keeping ducks out of your paddocks and away from your dams?
  • Are there any structures wild birds will perch on, distributing dropping close to your hens?
  • Are there dams, ponds, pools of water that wild birds have access to?  Is any of this water used for your birds drinking water?  It is so important that birds have access to clean water, without biofilms, impurities or contamination.  Remember, a chicken will drink about twice as much as it eats.  If water intake is reduced, the feed intake will reduce, and egg production will reduce.
  • Do you know who is coming onto your farm?  Family, friends, contractors, farmers?
  • Do you know their movements prior?
  • Do they have their own poultry?
  • Do you have a record of people and bird movement onto and off your farm?
  • Do you have a wheel wash at your farm gate?  Can be as simple as a backpack with disinfectant, or an1000L IBC of water,  disinfectant solution in a drum and a water hose.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, just needs to clean the wheels to avoid bringing contaminants onto your farm.

There was a time when I didn’t know a lot about biosecurity, I looked after nutrition, and I considered biosecurity to be veterinary.  I have clients in Qld, NSW, Vic and PNG.  I quarantine before and after visiting poultry farms, I sign the visitors log.  I use the foot baths, I wash the wheels of my car, I wear PPE or shower on and off farms. I am now so much more diligent. It is our responsibility to keep the industry resilient and going forward.

 What can you do?  Build biosecurity into your everyday best work practice. Develop and on-farm biosecurity plan, use the National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Poultry Production as your guide.  Ask for help; understanding how you can better safeguard your business can be the  difference between being anxious about the worst case scenario and feeling empowered to keep prospering as individuals, as a business and as an industry.

FAQS – Questions asked by Attendees with answers from presenters. 

QUESTION – Can water treatment  help? ie with Hydrogen peroxide , Acetic Acid , EM effective microbes, this is assuming that waters are blocked off from access other than watering posts.

Re transport declarations – if it is organic then documentation should accompany each incoming load of stockfeed, if you have capacity built into your supply agreement a clause that covers biosecurity issues.

QUESTION – We need to approach the government for subsidies to purchase effective equipment like the green lasers. We also need industry wide insurance to sustain businesses affected by closures. We spoke to Ag Vic today and they said it’s just a matter of time before the H5N1 appears in Australia. Do we have an industry body that can speak for us as a whole?

RESPONSE – currently there is not a Pastured Poultry representative group.  However these are resources we would suggest growers get engaged with:-

  • Australian Pastured Poultry Group – HERE
  • Join ORICoop HERE (organic producer Cooperative)
  • American Pastured Poultry Association HERE

QUESTION –Do chickens recover from Avian Influenza? 

RESPONSE – Infected birds die from the severe symptoms with high mortality; it can be 100% mortality.

QUESTION – If the ducks are spreading it, are the ducks dying? 

RESPONSE – Wild birds are carriers without showing symptoms of the disease.

QUESTION – How have these “outbreak farms” identified that they have Avian Influenza?

RESPONSE – The first signs would have been increased unexplained deaths or the onset of severe symptoms.  This would have required veterinary assessment which if not explained would have escalated to calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline.

QUESTION – Why are the wild birds apparently not showing the signs of these viruses in a way that our poultry is showing up?

RESPONSE – Wild birds and ducks are the natural host of AI and they do not show symptoms of the disease.  They shed the virus in saliva, nasal secretions and in faeces.  Domestic poultry are very susceptible to the virus and develop symptoms and disease.

QUESTION – What is the risk with fermented food / sprouts and salmonella contamination

RESPONSE – Poultry feed is at high risk for salmonella contamination.  Commercial feed is better when pelleted as the high temperatures used in the pelleting process kills the salmonella.  Mash feeds and on farm mixing of ingredients requires good hygiene, good rodent control and clean ingredients.  This will reduce the risk of contamination.

COMMENTS:- I sat on the Australian Eggs webinar yesterday and quickly discovered that farmers are not well equipped to stop the contamination from wild birds. And the pastured poultry people are almost blamed for this.

RESPONSE –  Industry must be proactive – and have a high level of biosecurity and risk mitigation practices in place.  Including records and paper trails.

COMMENTS:- Thank you Paola, great presentation. Are you only feeding fermented grain, or what else makes up your total ration?   One further question, what is your brooder set up to raise your own chicks 

Paola: We feed 36% of fermented organic grains and the rest is an organic pellet that they can eat as they choose.  I have two brooders, one has heat and the other does not have heat until they go out on the pasture at 12 weeks.  The brooder with heat is fully insulated and easy to clean with concrete floor  so no rat issues.  The outside brooder has an outside area with a high fence.  Happy to discuss further.

Fermented food for 400 birds is 8 parts wheat to 1/2 part wheat (approx 20 kg in total) per day.  This ration suggested was 8 parts wheat to 1/2 part peas, then double water, cover the wheat with twice as much water

Nicole: There is a professor who contacted me about antivirals for poultry against AI but it is only early days. If anyone is interested in this, happy to pass on his details.

Paola: A question regarding pursuing herd immunity rather than mass culling?

RESPONSE – Herd immunity is not recognised at this stage due to high fatality in existing cases.

Speakers contacts for further enquiry:-outdoor chooks

Karen Gurney – Redsun Nutrition, Poultry Nutrition specialist

Email –

Paola Crofts – Tall Poppy Farm

Email –

Venu – Melbourne Eggs

Email –

Jean Belstead – Natural homeopathic remedies for poultry (mentioned during  latter part of presentation)


Homeopathic component:

  • Avian flu nosode to antidote or protect
  • Copper + Zinc to support the nosode

Herbal component:

  • Immune function support
  • Anti-virus
  • Pulmonary/lung support
  • Anti-haemorrhage 

Contact Jean directly to order remedies via email –

Other Important Resources:-

  • National Poultry Biosecurity Manual HERE
  • National Organic Standards –  HERE
  • Avian Flu reference for Organic Producers (from Canada) –  HERE
  • Organic Poultry Feed trial – register your interest –  HERE
  • Information regarding ORICoop Membership –  HERE
  • Wild bird deterrent – scarer – Scolexia HERE

Secure poultry feeders that minimises access by wild birds:-

  • Chicken caravan feeders 
  • Aussie Feeders ( Although out of business now)
  • Paton feeders
  • Advantage feeders
  • Bromar feeders
  • Grandpa feeders (for backyard poultry)

Thanks again to our Sponsors – NASAA and Organic Industries of Australia

NASAA OrganicOricoopLOVE Organic

And our Speakers –     Tall Poppy Farm                 Melbourne Eggs                     Redsun Nutrition

Thanks to those that attended the online event and asked lots of questions.  We hope this blog is a helpful resource for producers that are managing and mitigating the risks of Avian Influenza.  Feel free to contact the speakers directly via email or to follow ORICoop to connect with other pastured and/or organic producers for other beneficial resources.

Link to the live recording of the online Pastured Poultry event below or link HERE. We welcome you to listen, share and learn!  And be proactive in mitigating the risk of Avian Flu and a health pastured poultry growing system on your farm!

ORICoop and the presenters have collated this information to the best of their ability.  It is provided in good faith and should be used as suggestions only for mitigating risk to a poultry enterprise.  At no time does ORICoop or presenters  guarantee these suggestions will prevent infection or transmission in what is an unknown or quantified risk.  We recommend you seek expert veterinary advice for any sick birds and consult with your Agricultural department or certifier with regard to any treatment protocols.

Organic Development Group

Organic Development Group

The Organic Development Group (ODG) consists of eleven organisations including certification, consumer, investment, and advocacy associations, who have over the past seven months joined together for the specific purpose of achieving regulatory reform in the Australian domestic market. The ODG has met three times in person, once virtually and has convened two separate working groups to facilitate foundational work streams such as research and review of potential pathways towards the shared goal of domestic regulation.  The ODG is a voluntary group with representation by 11 industry groups.  The Secretariat is resourced by Australian Organic LlimitedNASAA Organic and Organic Industries Australia (OIA) and funded by Australian Organic limited and NASAA Organic.

The group’s success was witnessed by the Australian Government at the inaugural Parliamentary Friends of Organic in Canberra during Organic Awareness Month. The Parliamentary Friends group was founded by Dan Repacholi, Member for Hunter, and Aaron Violi, Member for Casey. During the event Minister for Agriculture Senator Murray Watt attended and spoke of the importance of our industry and bipartisan support was demonstrated by the inclusion of Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Leader of the National Party David Littleproud in the final formalities.

ODG representatives are standing shoulder to shoulder, calling for reform and working as a united front. It is a credit to the representatives and the Secretariat how much has been achieved in such a short period of time. Well done to the ODG representatives for putting the industry’s future first and making this critical progress.

  • ACO Certification Ltd (ACO)
  • Australian Organic Limited (AOL)
  • Bio Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI)
  • Certified Organic & Bio Dynamic Western Australia (COBWA)
  • NASAA Certified Organic (NCO)
  • NASAA Organic Limited (NASAA)
  • Organic Consumers Association Australia (OCAA)
  • Organic Food Chain (OFC)
  • Organic Industries of Australia
  • Organic & Regenerative Investment Co-Operative (ORICOOP)
  • Southern Cross Certified (SXC)



Photo: Greg Paynter

Parliament Puts on a Show of Support for Certified Organic Industry

Parliament Puts on a Show of Support for Certified Organic Industry

Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum have joined international dignitaries and an array of the country’s top certified organic producers for a historic event at Parliament House to mark the formation of the Parliamentary Friends of Australia’s Organic Industry (PFAOI)

Recognising the certified organic industry’s development into a major export earner and economic driver that contributes $851m directly into the domestic economy, the barbecue lunch featured a range of certified organic produce and hosted the newly formed Organic Development Group (ODG).

The ODG brings together all of Australia’s certification bodies and key industry groups into one forum and presents a united voice on issues such as the need for domestic regulation of the word “organic” for clarity to consumers.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, addressed the event and acknowledged the organic industry’s position as a major contributor to Australia’s image abroad as a producer of clean, green and high-quality produce and products.

“This industry is a core part of our agriculture sector,” Minister Watt said.

“As a government we’ve been particularly keen to focus on how we can be supporting the organics sector with its export efforts.”

 “I know there was a very productive meeting held earlier today between representatives of the organics industry with the relevant departments to talk through some of the new and emerging export opportunities that we’ve been able to negotiate for our good organic products as well.”

PFAOI Co-chair, Aaron Violi MP, said establishing the group was an important step in elevating the industry.

“I used to work in the industry selling organic food and I’ve seen firsthand how the industry has grown over the last few decades and it’s an amazing industry that has big potential,” Mr Violi said.

“It’s already delivering a lot and there are things we need to do in this house to make sure that we can allow it to continue to grow.”

Australian Organic Limited (AOL) hosted the function which was attended by more than 200 people including Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell, Leader of the Nationals David Littleproud, MPs, Senators, the Swedish Ambassador, and representatives from the New Zealand High Commission, and the United States and French embassies.

AOL Chief Executive Officer, Niki Ford said it was timely recognition for producers.

“Today is an important day for us as an industry,” Ms Ford said.

“September is traditionally Australian Organic Awareness Month, so it is great for us to be talking about the real reason you should be choosing certified organic products.”

“Organic is regenerative, organic is sustainable and organic production systems positively contribute to climate resilience and biodiversity.”

“Every organic operator who is certified has to go through a rigorous audit to substantiate their claims which underpins the importance of looking for certification marks.”

“But without domestic regulation you can have as little as one ingredient and still claim organic on your packaging in Australia. Research has shown about one-third of consumers have reported being misled by deceptive packaging so truth in labelling is an important issue for our industry.” 


ORICoop Director Greg Paynter reflected on the event

“Whilst aware of the political issues of being around 3% of the agriculture production in Australia, it was pleasing to see the government and its agencies willing to listen to the concerns we face, but also to understand the benefit we can proactively assist with in the wider agriculture sector, in addressing externalities, traceability, profitability and biodiversity conservation (noting the dedicated biodiversity set aside system of the organic standard requirements to 10% of the land area of Australia’s Nation Park estate). ORICoop directors were able to talk to attendees from Government members and Department’s and fellow industry members in various forums regarding supply chain constraints and market opportunities both in domestic and export environments. Good contacts were made that are likely to benefit across the organic industry.”

ORICoop Director, Sandra Fishwick added her inspiration

“It’s important to recognise the value of Organic, green, clean soil and high quality foods while nurturing your health and building a future beyond the present”.

ORICoop Director, Carolyn Suggate outlined the following after the day.

“‘The future of our farming and environmental systems depends on the world transitioning to a better version of agriculture. The organic sector can provide much of this knowledge and demonstrates the increasing appetite from consumers for more integrity, provenance and trust in the food they desire. ORICoop is at the forefront of growing these markets and increasing the opportunity for organic growers across Australia. We are excited at the support shown by the Government and their interest to further the pathway for domestic regulation and integrity in the Nationally accredited organic standard.  Not a moment too soon!”

Organic Development Group

The 11-member ODG, which includes all of Australia’s certification bodies and major industry groups provides a united voice to pursue domestic regulation of the word ‘organic’.

Organic Producer and Organic Industries Australia Director, Ian James, said it’s essential for the thousands of businesses that have gone through the process of certification.

“The whole industry is built around verification and certification of the organic claim, and this must be enforceable,” Mr James said.

“We have come together to create the ODG with the realisation that the only way forward for the organic industry to achieve domestic regulation is with the unity of one voice. Our future growth and prosperity are what is at stake.”

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia General Manager, Alex Mitchell said it showed a maturing of the organic sector.

“This is an unprecedented commitment of the whole of industry in participating in not only the approach to policy development, but also in advocacy, such as the show of force at the event today,” Ms Mitchell said.

“It’s also critical to acknowledge the importance of bringing all the industry bodies together to listen to government so everyone can develop a common language for industry advancement.”

parliament eating organic feast


The ODG includes:


Australian Organic
LOVE Organic
NASAA Organic
Changing the Colour of Money

Changing the Colour of Money

ORICoop has been in deep conversations with our members, producers, supply chain businesses and investors that are interested in a more sustainable and resilient food and farming system.  We are keen to share our learnings – and to ask the question of the future of our food and financial systems.  And what is the true colour of money?

Right now –  Farmers around the country are innovating and transitioning quickly.  Quicker in fact than Governments and Industry bodies realise.  They are pressured by commodity prices, by wars overseas, by severe climatic events and rising interest rates.  Yet with the current rising inflation – producers are not being paid much more than they were 5 years ago.  Despite their costs increasing just like everyone else’s.  Perhaps this is our new normal as outlined by The Guardian recently.

The elephant in the room is the consumer.  The end buyer.  The supermarkets.  What  people are willing to pay for healthy, local nutritious food.  And has this split changed over the past 50 years – with regard to our lifestyles, work-life balance, debt and the priority of food over housing or other lifestyle choices.  The deeper realisation of the value of health and how nutrient dense food affects the cost of maintaining good health. 


What does this mean for farmers?  This means that many producers (dairy and grain growers are good examples) are being asked to grow more volume per hectare of land than ever before.  To the detriment of the nutrient density of the food and the land that it’s grown on.  With the ambition to increase our agricultural production to over $100B from the National Farmers Federation.  On land that is more expensive than ever in history with input and labour costs also at an all time high.  And yet – the end price producers are receiving at the farm-gate is not that different to 10 years ago.  In no way increasing comparative to the increased costs of food provided to consumers at the supermarket.  Or linked to the highly profitable returns of the major supermarkets.  The system is broken.

The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” John F Kennedy

So, how do we change this paradigm?  Global Domestic Product measures the increase of our economy, yet does it attribute the true cost of this economic measure.  Or considering the profitability and productivity opportunity across Agriculture – if we measured this ‘true cost’ paradigm differently.  With increased labour costs, some of the highest in the world.  How can Australia sustainably grow food comparative to many other countries.  Yes with some of the largest swathes of land in the world.  Noting New Zealand has a subsidised Pacific Island labour program.  Europe has a heavily subsidised agriculture sector.  And the US has strong support for commodity based agricultural production systems.  Is Australia being left behind?  Should we have an incentivised land stewardship package?   Or is there a risk we will be priced out of the market? Or have we not demonstrated our clean and green image well enough to the rest of the world?   Should we be more focussed on feeding our population before selling into these larger world commodity markets that may actually be part of the overall problem. 

ORICoop with our ORCA ‘Farmers Own’ brand is on a bold mission.  To provide bulk organic products that streamlines a more efficient organic supply chain.  That provides healthier food economically to more people.   And ensures that producers are sustainably growing what the market is demanding.  Keeping the supply chain efficient, nimble and ensuring that the grower and end buyer understand the different parameters of a complex supply chain.

We are determined to build a stronger domestic organic market.  So food travels less distance to more people, is more affordable and has a stronger provenance story.  It can be healthier, grown and transported with less of a carbon footprint and more of a conscious understanding of how it was grown.  Organic products have market fluctuations based on seasons, based on the capacity to plant or harvest crops. It takes innovative producers to manage significantly different years – from 2019 (severe drought) to the last two years of abundant rainfall and flooding in some regions.  What producers need is markets that work with their capacity to grow and innovate.  And to ensure that products grown have the best opportunity into the market – not just the perfect looking apples, or premium 14% protein grains or only Autumn flush dairy milk.  We must get better at growing, manufacturing and utilising food in a truly sustainable way that ensures we are efficient, less wasteful and understand the planetary boundaries of truly sustainable agriculture.

What does this have to do with the Colour of Money?  For many years investors have invested into Agriculture as a straight property investment.  Not to underwrite our food security or support transition to better land stewardship practices.  What if we used ‘true cost accounting’ to reflect the invisible cost to consumers of ameliorating the cost of the externalities of the industrial food production system?  To reconsider the lucrative returns of 12-14% year on year.  With the plan to exit after 7-9 years with a real estate property acquisition that includes significant capital growth.  They call it ‘ethical impact’.  The reality is, most agricultural investments provide a low (3-5%) cash return on investment (ROI) annually with a higher proportion allocated to capital growth – in the range of 5 – 8% annually.  But is this model truly sustainable?  For our population?  Or for the planet? 

To underwrite our food security we need to measure capital differently.  One that views food security and land stewardship as critical to our very survival.  Economically but also metaphorically.  Did you know that producers pay a higher rate of interest on farmland (property) than standard interest rates?  Even though land is property with property security?  The front porch is not very palatable when you’re wanting something to eat, it is a question of priority?  Why are producers left to fend for themselves when markets fluctuate and do not always reflect the true cost of food production. If true cost accounting was used in real terms farmers would be considered to be slaves, when considering their net profit (outside of a real estate gain), comparative to other lucrative and increasing wage levels across essential industries.  Walden Mutual in the US is a leading example of how investment can be done differently.  We need models like this in Australia, urgently.

To change this paradigm, investors must passionately support a fairer food and farm transition with a deeper lense, beyond just a philosophical idea.  Investors that are patient and driven by ethical, sustainable and reasonable returns that considers farmers, and the health of the land and the food we eat.  Investors that are looking for a co-beneficial relationship that revolutionises food and farm systems in a sustainable and earth centric manner.  To invest into food systems that are innovative, multi-layered, diverse and resilient for food, farming and community benefit.  Food systems that have short supply chains and are not commoditised for the benefit of the large agri-business sector – but are driven by the needs of our communities.  First and foremost.

Field of sunflowersThe ORCA investment Phase 2 is opening for investment shortly.  This is an exciting step for ORICoop.  It provides opportunity for larger investors to participate in supporting infrastructure investment into localised organic supply chains – infrastructure that enables grain to be processed within shorter distances.  Including grain that is grown in a more regenerative and sustainable manner – that includes cover crops, legumes and specialty grains (lupins a prime example).  Rather than a commoditised wheat, oat and barley focus that depletes the carbon and nutrient bank in the soil if not managed well, and is significantly affected by world markets.  This limits the growth of the organic sector that has much capacity to flourish and expand into these premium niche markets.  Australia has more than 55M hectares of farmland that is certified organic farmland.  That is more than half the world’s total certified land area.  From that land our organic sector is worth more than $3.6B (according to the Australian Organic Market Report), noting the US market has just exceeded US$60 Billion for the first time in history (from less land area).  The Australian market is growing at 12-14% annually.  What if this increased to $5B annually, or by 20% year on year these dividends were reinvested to improve on-farm knowledge, supply chain knowledge and efficiency with strategic market development?  Whilst addressing climate change mitigation, adaption and addressing biodiversity loss as additional dividends.  Australia can be a leader in supplying Asian markets and the Middle East for quality organic food and fibre.  While looking after our land and our regional communities.  

What the food and agriculture sectors need is a new Colour of Capital.  One that is driven by urgency, yet patient and compassionate to the seasonality of agriculture and food systems in a changing climate.  That understands we are all in this together.  Australia must get better at growing and processing local food at scale.  Like our forefathers and mothers did.  To rebuild and scale efficient and local processing capacity, and to re-energise food production that enhances regions for their climatic and farming strength.  And to build and value community driven food systems for the better.  To have an innovative investment capacity that exemplifies our strength of markets, our capacity to grow large volumes of product in a sustainable manner, our seasonal diversity and access to land.  

The world needs a different Colour of Capital that builds long term impact for the better.  If you are interested in finding out more you can complete the EOI here. 

Written by Carolyn Suggate,
Executive Director of ORICoop

E – Carolyn’s email

** Photo Credit – David McFall

Lupins: Good for the Earth, Great for your Diet

Lupins: Good for the Earth, Great for your Diet

The little known lupin is likely the most powerful superfood you’ve never heard of. While lupins have been used as a food for as much as 6000 years in the Andean highlands and over 3000 years around the Mediterranean, they are slowly making their way onto supermarket shelves in Australia and around the globe. Meanwhile, farmers are recognising their multiple advantages in both sustainable cropping systems and as a high-protein addition to animal feed.

With over 200 species, lupins are grown in a wide array of regions across the globe, ranging from the Mediterranean to the southwestern United States, northern Mexico to both eastern and western parts of Australia. Two varieties of lupin are most commonly grown in Australia, with the majority of lupin production occurring in the winter/spring rain-fed parts of southwestern Western Australia. Australia produces about 730,000 metric tonnes of lupins per year, the equivalent of approximately 80–85% of the world’s lupin production. About 30% are used domestically within Australia, while approximately 70% are exported to Asia, North Africa and the Middle East for animal feed. As a high-protein grain, lupins are most commonly grown and harvested for human and animal consumption, yet they also hold many advantages in both cropping and mixed cropping–livestock farming systems.

Farmers can enrich their soil naturally by planting an annual that produces a kaleidoscope of pea-like flowers with bold spikes of vibrant purples, pinks and blues, rich reds and yellows, or crisp, clean whites, attracting a range of pollinators including bees and butterflies. In regenerative cropping systems, lupins produce a significant nitrogen contribution for subsequent crops in soils. They provide a disease break for cereal crops and can help control grass weeds within well planned cropping sequences. With taproots that stretch deep into the earth, lupins are drought-tolerant and also help break up compacted soil. When lupin plants die back, the taproots slowly break down, increasing the organic content in the soil, helping the soil retain water. These combined benefits can increase the yields of cereals following lupin crop rotation, particularly when grown in sandy soils.

Lupin harvest 2022The nutrient content of lupin grain, in protein, amino acid, energy and mineral levels makes it both a nutritional and economical addition to stock feed formulations. Among the various grain legumes used in stock feed, lupins can be used as an alternative to soybeans and are highly regarded as feed for poultry, pigs, ruminants, and fish. Research has shown that replacing soybean meal with lupin meal as an alternative poultry protein feed source reduces cost of production and improves poultry egg productivity. In other studies, using lupin grain in feed rations has been shown to increase the milk production of beef and dairy cattle. It can be more valuable to include in the diet than cereal grain because it tends to not lower the fat content of milk (as high levels of cereal grains may do). Researchers have also investigated the potential for lupin grain to be used as a plant based feed source in aquaculture operations and found that lupin was particularly useful for fish diets because of the highly digestible level of protein, good levels of digestible energy and highly digestible phosphorus.

While the crop is grown mostly to produce stock feed, there is a small, but growing market for lupin grain for human consumption. Lupins are slowly growing in popularity among consumers due to their many health benefits: protein-rich, highly nutritious, sustainable, and versatile, lupins are a powerhouse of goodness. They are one of the richest sources of plant protein and fibre (at least twice as much as other legumes) and packed full of nutrients and antioxidants including thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. Eating lupin beans has been linked to lowering blood pressure, improving blood lipids and insulin sensitivity and favourably altering the gut microbiome in studies. The Australian food industry is beginning to recognise the value of lupin and a range of lupin products are now available, including whole lupin flakes, flour, crumb, semolina, or enriched food products such as pasta, cereal and cookie mix.

ORICoop has been working with key organic growers in Western Australia and the Riverina – to expand and diversify their crop selections to include lupins.  This provides producers a unique and valuable intercrop option – and enables a strong cash crop for organic dairy and poultry producers.  ‘There is a strong appetite for lupins as a livestock feed, and with our Farmers Own ‘ORCA’ Brand we are pushing through the barriers to get bulk lupins from growers to end users in Victoria, Southern Australia and Queensland.  Our next ambition is to tap into strategic export markets.  This legume has a well deserved place of prominence in the organic and regenerative cropping market – and we are looking forward to it’s initiation across the Australian organic sector’ says Carolyn, ORICoop Executive Director

Ian and Jodi are well experienced with growing lupins in Western Australia.  And are thriving in growing them under an organic system.  ‘Lupin crops play a pivotal role in the viability of organic and regenerative farming systems in Western Australia. They present to the farmer a range of critical advantages over other crop rotation options available such as suitability in deep acid sandy soils, excellent nitrogen fixation capability, disease resistance and disease break for other crops, impressive stockfeed quality and volume of post harvest residues and competitive demand and value of lupin seeds. 

Nitrogen is typically applied to a crop in the form of urea, and although urea application can result in vigorous crop growth it has a hidden destructive action on soil health and long term fertility that requires additional fertilisation to overcome. Organic and regenerative farming systems limit or prohibit the use of urea for this reason. Lupins can fix similar levels of nitrogen from the atmosphere directly into the soil naturally and even increase soil health making them the goto natural fertiliser for the environmentally conscious consumer and farmer. The lupin seed and after harvest crop residues provide an additional benefit of an outstanding high value stockfeed source for grazing ewes and lambs. Ewes and lambs grazing or being fed lupins outperform those running on grass crop feeds and harvest residues providing substantially more lambs and reach market weight far quicker than those running on grass crop grains and residues.

With its unique macro and micro nutrient composition, there is growing evidence that incorporating lupin ingredients into animal and human diets can have direct health benefits. On farms, the benefits range from improved soil structure and water efficiency to increased yields and profitability. With its wealth of advantages, lupins are fast becoming a key ingredient in sustainable agriculture and sustainable diets.

To enquire about bulk lupins you can contact ORICoop HERE

Story written by Eva Perroni


  • Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (2021) Australian lupins for dairy cattle. Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, Perth, Australia.
  • Beyene, G., Ameha N., Urge M., Estifanos A. (2014) Replacing soybean meal with processed Lupin (Lupinus Albus) meal as poultry layers feed. Livestock Research for Rural Development 26(11).
  • Encyclopedia of Food Grains (Second Edition), (2016) Lupine: An Overview. VOLUME 1, Pages 280-286.
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation (2018) Lupin as a feed source. Grains Research and Development Corporation, Canberra Australia. 
  • Kouris-Blazos & Belski. (2016) Health benefits of legumes and pulses with a focus on Australian sweet lupins. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 25(1): 1-17.
ORCA Investment Project

ORCA Investment Project

Greetings to all ORICoop Subscribers,

Woah the rain in the South!  Thinking of all the producers that have had a busy period getting crops in before this drenching rain.  We, in the snow country and juggling calving cows and snow conditions right now!

A quick update from ORICoop.  We have been head down with our ORCA capital raising over the past month and navigating bulk organic grain supply across our National producer and buyer network.  Together with expanding the ORCA marketplace to better meet the needs of grain producers, buyers, manufacturers and key expanding grain markets in Australia.

grain field

ORCA Investment Opportunity

Have you completed your EOI for Phase 1 of the ORCA investment project?  We are proceeding with our investment strategy based on the EOI’s received to date.  We have identified key infrastructure opportunities – that will provide more options for the organic grain sector in partnership with some of our key producer members across Southern Australia.  This means we will be able to manage and process organic grain more locally and efficiently and increase the diversity of crops that organic producers in the southern states can grow and sell.  A win-win outcome!

Organic Investment Opportunities

We have also identified new markets for existing bulk grains which is super exciting for organic grain growers keen to expand their business! We will be in touch with our ORCA members directly regarding organic grain demand and planning for the next season based on this demand.  If you are interested in being an ORCA supplier – make sure you contact us at (and join ORICoop!)

And make sure you have completed the EOI for the ORCA Investment project.

The three components of the ORICA Phase 1 investment project include:-

  • ORCA Brand market development
  • Grain infrastructure – including bespoke processing and storage capacity
  • ORCA online marketplace development

grain in trucks

ORICoop Membership

Have you heard about ORICoop?  We are ambitiously frustrated by the barriers across organic supply chains.  For both producers and for buyers, manufacturers and those building strong organic brands.  As a National Organic Cooperative – we believe that together we are stronger and can overcome these barriers through a more coordinated and sophisticated approach.  Come and join our growing network of over 200 organic producer members.  Across States, Commodities and different farming and business systems.  

You can join HERE –  And include your business in our Member Directory.

As an ORICoop member you get access to:-

  • Our ORICoop online member meetings
  • Product and market updates
  • Supply, market and product options through our ORCA organic brand
  • Access to our knowledge network of experienced producers and growers
  • A united producer voice for the industry
  • Benefit from our key partners that provide economical and independant services to our members

Any questions regarding ORICoop membership please email  

You can keep up with our latest news via our blog here –

Until next time,

The ORICoop Team