Money tree

31 Jul, 2002 10:00 PM
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DESPITE what you may think about the rain (or lack of it), the opportunity to buy CALM-NHT subsidised seedlings for 25c is now!

Oil mallees are natives of WA and well-adapted to withstanding the dry conditions but as subsidised seedlings in 2003 cannot be guaranteed, this could be your last chance to buy oil mallees at below the 40c cost price.

"There are still plenty of hardy, robust seedlings available which with good planning and care, can be planted in dry conditions," Oil Mallee Company field operations manager Ben Roberts said.

Since 1996, visionary landowners of the Wheatbelt region of WA have planted 24m oil mallees, anticipating financial returns while receiving a range of environmental benefits for their farms.

These include managing salinity, reducing run-off and soil erosion, windbreaks and aesthetic benefits.

Harvesting for oil extraction has occurred for several years but large scale harvesting of oil mallees is scheduled to start in mid January next year to supply Western Power's Integrated Wood Processing Plant at Narrogin.

The success of this prototype plant will see an additional six plants established throughout the Wheatbelt over the next 10 to 15 years.

The processing plants produce activated carbon (charcoal) with oil and power as by-products of the combustion process, the latter of which is intended to be fed back into the main grid.

"The potential for farmers to plant oil mallees and diversify, not only in land use, but their incomes as well, is very real," Ben said.

"Further opportunities exist for the purchase of carbon credits and land leasing by private industry."

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