Agribusiness the backbone of SA economy

They help put food on our tables, contribute enormously to the state’s economy and uphold the livelihood of our regions.

South Australian farmers are the lifeblood of our country communities and are big players in the state’s overall economic welfare, with agriculture contributing to 25% of our economy.

Our agricultural researchers and biosecurity workers are equally important to our state’s reputation for being clean, green, pest free and one of the most sustainable food and wine growing regions on the planet.

Throughout October, Brand SA News will bring you success stories and the latest innovations from the state’s agribusiness industry, as part of Brand South Australia’s successful I Choose SA campaign.

We’ll take you inside the dairy industry and why you should be hunting down local dairy labels on your weekly shop, how multi-generational farming businesses have diversified, and how women are leading the way.

Food producers at B.-d Farm Paris Creek in the Adelaide Hills, makers of dairy products including yoghurt, cheese, butter and milk. Photo: PIRSA.

First up, we will deliver an article on Thornby Premium Lamb, a longstanding family-owned farming business with a presence at Sanderston on the outskirts of the Murray Mallee, as well as on Kangaroo Island.

We’ll also hear from Grain Producers SA’s first female boss, Caroline Rhodes, who will talk to the state’s grain industry, one that last year produced an 11 million tonne harvest worth a total farm gate value of $2.2 billion*.

Wheat is our primary grain, with 4500 farms across the state contributing to the grain industry, helping keep us and our livestock fed, and assisting in the manufacturing of a range of everyday products.

We’ll also bring you something a little weird – the world of potato waste.

Potatoes SA plans to tackle food waste by using discarded potato peel and pulp to make premium vodka (which we’re happy to taste test).

Brand South Australia’s I Choose SA for agribusiness ambassadors will also be revealed, and their experiences and industry predications shared.

Our coverage of agribusiness will take you inside some of our regions – our food bowls free from fruit fly and the vine-destroying phylloxera pest.

SA is the only Australian mainland state free from fruit fly and we spend about $5 million a year trying to keep it that way through prevention, detection and eradication measures.

Aside from knowing where our food grows, we’ll also find out where it goes, with China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand among others being some of our largest export markets.

And the wine, let’s not forget the wine. SA’s 3400 grape growers produce yearly crops valued at $658 million.


Eighty per cent of Australia’s premium wine comes from SA, proving we definitely know how to make a good drop.

To help kickstart the month of agribusiness exploration, Brand South Australia will host an Industry Briefing on October 9, where guests will learn about key innovations and the range of careers and available pathways.

Guests will hear from Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, Pork SA chairman Mark McLean and Grain Producers SA CEO Caroline Rhodes.

What: Brand South Australia I Choose SA for Agribusiness Industry Briefing
When: October 9, 4.30–6.30pm.
Where: Adelaide Showground, The Old Ram Shed.
Tickets: From $25–$49

Register for the event here.

*Statistics and industry figures sourced from PIRSA.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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H&M announces opening date for Rundle Mall Plaza store

Fashionistas, make room in your wardrobe because global fashion giant H&M is almost here.

Shoppers have been eagerly awaiting the details surrounding the opening of international fashion retailer H&M’s first South Australian store.

The Swedish fashion company will open its doors in the redeveloped Rundle Mall Plaza on November 2.

The H&M store will span across 3000 sq m over two levels, offering apparel, underwear and accessories for men, women and children.

It will also include an H&M Home concept featuring homewares, curtains, rugs, bed linen, cushions, blankets, storage, serving-ware and decorations.

“We are excited to finally be able to announce the opening date for our Rundle Mall Plaza store on November 2 and to offer our customers an incredible fashion shopping destination within Adelaide,” says Thomas Coellner, Australian Country Manager for H&M.

“We are also looking forward to introducing our H&M Home concept to Adelaide as we feel this really rounds out our wide assortment offering.”

H&M will be the major tenant in the redeveloped Rundle Mall Plaza. Photo supplied by Hames Sharley.

H&M will be the major tenant of Rundle Mall Plaza which has been under redevelopment for most of 2018.

The overall plaza redevelopment, undertaken by owner The Weinert Group, spans over four lower levels of the nine-storey building.

In addition to H&M, a ‘tech hub’ with offices and co-working spaces, a higher-end dining level, and health and well being precinct are also envisaged for the building.

The higher-end dining precinct will offer quality dining experiences that still cater to the lunchtime trade.

Large glass windows in the dining precinct overlooking Rundle Mall will be a feature of the building, as will the relocated Progress status, a welded copper structure created by Lyndon Dadswell in 1959.

H&M entered the Australian market in 2014 and now has 31 stores across the country.

It is understood that about 100 jobs including management positions are being filled within H&M’s Adelaide store.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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REDARC Electronics recharges Adelaide’s south with jobs, factory expansion

Advanced manufacturing company REDARC Electronics has come a long way since its beginnings in the late ‘90s, as an eight-person business operating out of a tin shed in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

Fast forward more than two decades and the Lonsdale-based company has expanded its product offerings from just voltage converters to a range of vehicle power solutions manufactured by a local workforce and exported across the world.

REDARC recently completed its 15th consecutive year of an average 20% growth. It’s also recently diversified into the defence and medical device industry, and has grown to have 180 FTEs on the books with plans to recruit more.

Managing director Anthony Kittel says the company has a five-year plan to reach $100 million in sales, employ more than 250 staff, and also complete a factory expansion allowing for a boost in exports.

The $20 million expansion of its Lonsdale factory began in 2017 and will see the company grow its workforce and penetrate new markets including defence and medical devices.

REDARC Electronics managing director Anthony Kittel.

New state-of-the-art machinery and specialist testing equipment are currently being installed, with the company on the look out for workers with various expertise.

“REDARC are planning to hire electronic engineers, computer systems engineers, project managers, sales, business development and marketing staff while also providing traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities,” Anthony says.

“REDARC are heavily involved and committed to the community by nurturing and developing the skills of young people as they enter the workforce, and by providing many work experience opportunities for high school students and undergraduates in various areas of business.”

The factory expansion is expected to be finished by late November.

“We are currently completing the installation of advanced manufacturing equipment,” Anthony says.

“We have also completed the installation of a 100kW PV solar power system which will allow REDARC to offset CO2 carbon emissions by 80 tonnes per year.

“We’ve also added a Tesla Powerwall to store energy from our solar system and a diesel generator allowing uninterrupted operations.”

Today the company sells more than 500 products sold globally into North America, Europe, UAE, South Africa, UK, South Korea and Singapore.

Its road to manufacturing success was laid in 1979 when the company was founded by electronics engineer Robin (Bob) William Mackie, who hand-built vehicle ignition systems and voltage converters.

Bob passed away in 1997 and Anthony and Michele Kittel, along with Michele’s father Denis Brion, purchased the business which they believed had potential but “needed a lot of work”.

“I knew we had a lot of work to do and since that time we have had a motto, ‘customer is king’. It took almost three years to stabilise the business and develop a vision for the future,” Anthony says.

REDARC built its reputation on the high quality manufacturing of vehicle power solutions.

Six of the eight original staff from the ‘90s are still with the company which has since built upon its team-based culture and diversified into the development of products for the 4WD and caravan industry.

These products include inverters, power supplies, battery chargers, brake controllers, trailer braking products, and portable solar panels.

REDARC services a range of other industries including heavy trucking, emergency services, mining, industrial, marine and recreational vehicles and, more recently, the defence and medical device industries.

SA’s burgeoning defence industry is one of the company’s key targets and for the last five years has offered the Australian defence sector a range of electronic solutions for vehicles.

REDARC is an SME (small-to-medium enterprise) partner for Rheinmetall, which won the LAND400 phase 2 contract to deliver more than 200 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army.

The REDARC workforce is expanding, with job roles in various fields.

REDARC is also an SME partner to BAE Systems Australia on the SEA5000 Future Frigates project that will deliver nine new Hunter Class ships built by ASC Shipbuilding at Osborne from 2020.

Aside from its branching out into defence, REDARC has also experienced growth in its usual sectors, namely through the acquisition of NSW company Hummingbird Electronics in 2015.

In 2017/18 REDARC signed eTrailer Corporation and Keystone Automotive Operations as two distribution partners for North America.

Despite the Adelaide-born company reaching global heights, its managing director says SA is the “best place in the world to live and operate a business”.

“We have long-established networks and connections, our families live here,” he says.

“It’s great to see the growth and confidence in the SA economy, employment creation and infrastructure development. We are passionate about Australian manufacturing and employing local people.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Shop the maker: Kindred Self

There’s a saying that’s been floating around recently: “people don’t buy from businesses – they buy from people.”

And so, with the brand new Shop South Australia up and running, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on the people behind the local brands and businesses you can shop from on the purely SA online marketplace.

The first maker we’d like you to meet is Kyrie from Kindred Self.

A former graphic designer turned counsellor, Kyrie had the “strong inkling” that one day she would work in “some kind of healing modality”.

Kyrie was first introduced to essential oils 15 years ago when her specialist informed her that she had breast cancer – and handed her a tissue infused with lavender oil.

From there, the connection to essential oils became stronger and, fast forward 12 years, Kyrie set out to create her own range of essential oil products.

Kyrie, left, with her one of the handmade essential oil products.

How did the idea for Kindred Self come about?
After completing my formal counselling studies, I reflected on my personal experience of using essential oils for emotional support when I had cancer, and all of a sudden, the connection between counselling and aromatherapy seemed so obvious to me. And so, in a very organic way, the Kindred Self product range for self-care came to be.

What sets Kindred Self apart?
As a counsellor, my point of difference is how openly I connect with people by sharing my passion for oils, my life and personal insights. I often find myself at markets or in the shop having deep conversations and the essential oils are the gentle segue for this to happen. Feeling supported and heard is a big part of the Kindred Self experience.

What do you love most about being based in South Australia?
Adelaide is the perfect place for small start-ups, especially if you benefit from a bit of old-fashioned marketing such as ‘word of mouth’!

What have been some highlights for Kindred Self so far?
The biggest highlight is watching my little business grow – literally. When I first started, I leased a vestibule of an old church hall in Croydon. From there I moved into my shopfront in Grange. In October, I move into a much larger space in Port Adelaide, which feels extremely grown up!

Another highlight is witnessing my customers resonating with what my business is all about. My products are ‘heart crafted’ in small batches – a lot of time and love goes into what I do, and that energy is felt by many who come into contact with Kindred Self. I receive so much support and positive feedback from the community, which is so encouraging for me.

Kyrie outside her shopfront in Grange.

What’s next for Kindred Self?
Quite a lot actually! I’m about to setup a new workspace in Port Adelaide called Urban Wellness. This space will be HQ to Kindred Self, but also a shared space for likeminded wellness practitioners. The space will be a haven to connect, share, cultivate, heal and be well.

I’m also about to launch a spring/summer workshop series focusing on creative self-care, which will run at a few locations around Adelaide from October to February, and I’m developing some new products to launch in the new year.

Connect with Kindred Self on Facebook and Instagram.

Shop South Australia hot pick

May I Be Nurtured Pulse Point

A hug in a bottle, this pulse point roller is a blend that can improve sleep quality and ease symptoms of fear and anxiety.

It’s a synergy of lavender, cedarwood and chamomile that can be rolled onto the soles of your feet as you jump into bed, supporting a more restful sleep!

Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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Axiom is moulding a new manufacturing future

In his 12 years working with Axiom Precision Manufacturing, Shannon Wride has seen a transformation in the way the business operates.

“We’ve strived to take on that high end work, and as a company we’ve always tried to do the jobs other people say they can’t do,” says the company’s operations supervisor and Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassador.

“We’ve had people come to us saying no one else is willing to touch this and we’re always willing to give it a crack.”

When Shannon started out with Axiom as an apprentice in 2006 the company was then called Diemould Tooling and was based in Edwardstown, the work focused around the state’s automotive industry in producing plastic injection moulds.

As automotive work slowed down and China began taking over an increasing slice of the sector’s manufacturing pie, the SA-owned company took stock and began looking to change the way it operated.

The business began courting defence and aerospace companies and, eventually, new jobs began to roll into the workshops.

Axiom Precision Manufacturing operations supervisor Shannon Wride is an I Choose SA ambassador for the advanced manufacturing industry.

Before long, Diemould Tooling was merged with Numetric Manufacturers in Wingfield and the company renamed Axiom Precision Manufacturing.

Now the family owned business that started in 1979 works extensively on high-end metal component design and manufacturing jobs for the aerospace and defence industries.

It has worked hard to achieve AS9100 accreditation – meaning its quality system meets top level aerospace requirements, and the business has its highest ever staff numbers at about 60.

There are also plans to further develop land owned by the company next door to its Wingfield site, where its purpose-built manufacturing facility, delivering special purpose equipment, tooling and injection moulded components, is based.

It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a company relatively new to the nation’s defence industry. And it’s one that saw the company win a 2016 Defence Industry award for Most Outstanding Small-Medium Enterprise from the state’s Defence Teaming Centre.

The award recognised how it had excelled in engaging with the defence industry “to build their capability and to work in defence”.

Shannon, who first completed a four-year tool making apprenticeship, is now in charge of “day-to-day operations”, scheduling machine loadings and overseeing the inspection department.

He is in charge of “trouble shooting” and ensures orders reach customers on time with Shannon saying the company’s client base stretches across Australia.

He says one of the jobs he’s proudest of overseeing involves making moulds for a device that protects frontline defence forces from bomb detonations.

Shannon went through a four-year tool making apprenticeship and now works in an SA company that is taking advantage of the state’s growing advanced manufacturing sector.

“We’ve heard first-hand from people who have come in and seen these devices work in the field,” Shannon says.

“It’s saved lives, just hearing that is so rewarding, we are contributing to the protection of our defence forces.”

The company’s capabilities in precision machining also has seen it selected to manufacture components for space projects, from world class telescopes to high precision components supplied to Orbital ATK.

This space company manufactured fuel cells that launched the space shuttles to the International Space Station.

Axiom also makes components for the Australian Collins Class Submarines, ranging from precision-machined engine components to electronic hardware and the manufacture of tooling for battery components.

And it has a decade of experience in manufacturing medical devices and components including producing bone plates, dental implant components and specialised surgical equipment.

It’s this range of work – from defence to mining, food and beverage and medical devices industries – that’s kept Shannon committed to his role in a company that is not only growing but also taking on apprentices to train staff for high-end manufacturing in the future.

The business currently has three in-house apprentices and is looking to have another start next year with Shannon saying the state has a bright future.

“We hear that manufacturing in SA has been through a rough time but the ones who have managed to diversify early enough, we are booming, we haven’t had a quiet spell in years,” he says.

“And we’re attractive as employers, we’ve got a guy working here from South Africa and he picked SA because of the liveability and cheaper housing and with talk of the state being a defence hub as well.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Watervale Hotel’s elite food aspirations

A country hotel can embrace city restaurant ethics without destroying the simple ambience and personality of rural hospitality.

This is the belief of Nicola Palmer and Warrick Duthy, who bought the Watervale Hotel in Clare a year ago, and are implementing positive change through re-defining the pub’s cooking and dining philosophy.

Calling themselves “ethical epicureans”, Warwick and Nicola (her family owns Skillogalee Winery at Clare) aim to prepare elite-quality meals while simultaneously practicing eco-sustainability, recycling and provide unique training for hospitality staff.

To achieve this, the couple has also bought two nearby properties where they intend to grow much of their own food.

The newly revamped Watervale Hotel is a country pub that will give any city restaurant a run for its money. Photo by Daniel Blackman.

A plot opposite the pub is providing herbs and brassica for the hotel kitchen, but the majority of produce will come from Penobscot Farm, a 1.2ha permaculture site being tended by gardener Jared Murray, with about 70 mature fruit and nut trees, and space for more vegetable plots, and animals.

It’s part of a big makeover, as Nicola and Warrick intend to spend $1 million over two years to revitalise the hotel.

An exterior and interior facelift is already in motion, together with refreshed signage and a new website to promote the philosophical change.

Next they will re-open No. 6 Quelltaler Road, the town’s former butcher shop, as Farmgate Cellars – a diverse regional wine shop and providore, selling produce from Penobscot Farm.

Watervale Hotel owner Warrick Duthy. Photo by Daniel Blackman.

The owners want Watervale to win renown as a gastronomic food destination, citing the Royal Mail Hotel (in Dunkeld, western Victoria) and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (American chef Dan Barber’s farm restaurant in New York State) as inspirational models of success.

They’ve started to implement their food ideas through a tasting plate menu at the Watervale Hotel, “inspired by the amazing street food of the world, influenced by the local flavours of The Clare Valley”.

“At the moment, it’s baby steps,” explains Warrick. “It’s a big plan that will keep growing as we get all the resources together and continue to build a team that shares the same ethical approach.”

The challenge now is enticing aspiring young chefs to the region so the philosophy can be implemented to its fullest.

“This is a special opportunity that any chef who wants to learn and perform at the highest level just won’t find in the city. They’ll have a chance to create their own food, from the soil up,” explains Warrick.

“Young hospitality workers are telling me they don’t want to come to a place like Clare because of lifestyle reasons, that it’s too far removed from city attractions, but it’s only here that they can become part of a thriving food community. It’s not an impossible dream.

“Places such as Brae in rural Victoria have been awarded Australia’s best restaurant. We want to make it happen in Clare, too.”

Photo by Daniel Blackman.

More notable change is happening in the Limestone Coast, with the Royal Oak Hotel in Penola having recently been sold after a long time under the control of the Hayward family.

The pub has been bought by John Rymill (former managing director of Rymill Winery in Coonawarra), with local chef Kirby Shearing taking residence in the kitchen to drive the hotel’s dining output and serve as a base for his Soul Projects catering company.

Again, the first step this country pub is taking towards revitalisation is via its menu. While not wishing to radically transform the food style, Kirby is adopting a clean food philosophy.

“We’ll be keeping food miles down on the produce we use; sourcing locally, making everything on-site, placing regional freshness as a priority,” he says.

“We won’t try to change what people like to eat, but we will be placing an emphasis on high service standards and quality. I think these are great aspects that new ownership can bring to a country pub.”

We see the Stanley Bridge Tavern’s new beer garden becoming a hotspot this summer.

Introducing change to a beloved country pub is a delicate manoeuvre, as Frank Hannon-Tan (who also runs Amalfi Pizzeria Ristorante in Frome Street, Adelaide) and Pablo Theodoros (ex-East End Cellars) have learned as managers of the Stanley Bridge Tavern at Verdun in the Adelaide Hills.

While the pub is owned by Julie and Ed Peters (who also own the Crafers and Uraidla Hotels in the Adelaide Hills, featured previously here on Brand SA News, Hannon-Tan and Theodoros have been charged with refreshing the pub’s image through modern wines list, simplified bistro-style menu, and modern styling applied to a large rear beer garden, but without damaging the character of a beloved local watering hole.

“It has to be a locals’ pub, first and foremost,” says Theodoros, “so we have to make sure we give loyal locals the best of everything.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Riverland’s Venus Citrus a third-generation success story

For the past 40 years, Riverland citrus company, P.Costi and Sons has been contributing to South Australia’s economy through horticulture and boosting the region’s population by employing locals and overseas workers.

Its Venus Citrus brand of fruit has become highly sought after globally, especially in Asia and among Australian consumers.

The company’s founder, the late Peter Costi, who died in 1995, labelled his oranges Venus Citrus after his homeland, the Island of Venus in Cyprus.

And it seems as if Venus, the goddess of love, beauty and inspiration, has shone down on the Loxton-based company, contributing to its direction and ability to survive some tough years, including the drought during 2009 to 2012.

Peter Costi moved to SA’s Riverland in 1973 from Sydney and soon established himself as a citrus grower and packer, selling his own fruit at a stand at the Melbourne market.

He set up P. Costi and Sons in 1977.

Venus Citrus exports citrus gift boxes to China.

Managing director and marketing manager for Venus Citrus Helen Aggeletos, who has worked for the company her father established for 30 years, attributes hard work and commitment to its achievements.

The third-generation family business exports produce it sources from 38 Riverland citrus growers to more than 20 countries around the world.

The beautifully packaged Venus Citrus oranges and mandarins can also be found in supermarkets in most Australian capital cities.

The company employs 75 people at the peak of the citrus season and 60% of these staff are from the Riverland.

The rest are backpackers, a group of Pacific Islanders employed under the Federal Government’s seasonal workers’ scheme and eight staff from overseas, who have been sponsored to work in Australia by P. Costi and Sons.

These sponsored workers come from countries such as France, Belgium, Italy, Japan and South Korea and initially came to the Riverland as backpackers.

After four years, they will be able to apply for permanent residency to make Loxton home.

Helen says the Riverland company has had to take some risks to remain viable even when faced with a drought in 2009.

Matthew, Sam and Brad Lloyd from L.D. Lloyd and Sons in Lyrup, 28km north of Loxton, grow ecologically certified fruit for Venus Citrus’ Eco Brand.

“At the start of the drought, we were in a more comfortable cash flow position, so we actually gave bonuses to growers in addition to our normal payments to help them buy water,” she says.

Helen says when the weather conditions and future of the citrus industry improved in 2014, her family took the brave step of redeveloping the company.

“We were on our knees at the end of those three years as well, we were not immune to the whole situation,” she says.

The transformation included training nine of their key growers to become ecologically certified, developing a new logo and new packaging.

She says to be ecologically certified, growers can only use low toxic chemicals for pest and disease control, and only if there is no biological solution.

It is the first time such ecological methods have been used by citrus growers in Australia.

In November last year, China formally recognised the Riverland as a Pest Free Area for all horticultural produce.

It means SA’s horticultural produce can be shipped directly to China without having to be treated for fruit fly because the state is free of the pest.

Helen says not having to cold sterilise their citrus gives SA citrus growers an economic advantage of $2.80 a carton over their interstate counterparts.

Another record year is expected for the Australian citrus industry and the Chinese market has been a significant contributor, she adds.

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The Dairyman goes back to Barossan basics

An artisan dairy farmer in one of South Australia’s most renowned regions is pushing a paddock to plate ethos that is helping support the local produce industry.

Barossa Valley producer Michael Wohlstadt is behind The Dairyman, maker of handmade butter, cream and premium fresh pork cuts, as well as cured and smoked meats.

The dairy and pork products are produced on site before leaving for some of the state’s most prestigious restaurants, including Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year, Orana, its sister venue Bistro Blackwood and rooftop bar and restaurant 2KW.

Michael has lived on the traditional, mixed-farm property between Lyndoch and Williamstown for the past 40 years, raising a small herd of 20 Jersey cows for milk that goes into premium cream and butter products.

“It’s very old school, we use a milk machine but it’s a very old system and it’s hands on, low stress, very laid back, but fairly manual process,” he says.

“We milk the cows and at the moment about 60% of the dairy goes into the cream and butter and the balance is the skim milk by-product which goes to the pigs to see out a substantial diet.”

The Dairyman, Michael Wohlstadt.

The free-range Berkshire and Tamworth pigs are among few Australian pig herds fed milk opposed to usual grain feed.

But along with the milk, the pigs are also fed grain sourced from a local farmer about 5km away “meaning total food miles are quite low”.

“Nothing leaves here as a commodity, it all leaves here as food,” Michael says.

“The pork is killed and processed offsite in the Barossa and comes back here for distribution, it goes into ham, bacon and fresh pork.”

As for the dairy products, cream is produced on site, as is the butter which is churned in small batches onsite using traditional methods that capture a full, creamy flavour.

Aside from Orana, Blackwood and 2KW, The Dairyman also supplies Magill Estate Restaurant and InterContinental Adelaide.

Its products can also be found at the Adelaide Central Market’s Smelly Cheese Shop and Lucia’s Fine Foods, as well as the Barossa Farmers Market, Barossa Co-op, Adelaide Farmers Market (every fortnight) and online.

The Dairyman Farm Butter.

Michael has adopted a mixed farming approach, a method common 50 years ago where landholders would undertake a number of complementary agricultural practices between.

“Mixed farming was common in those days where you had a small herd of cows to make cream and then there would also be the skim milk left for the pigs,” he says.

“When I came to the Barossa that was still very common, but now agricultural regions have gravitated towards a single dominant stream.

“We have seen a reduction of dairy farms in the Barossa, there is only a handful now.”

Michael came to the Barossa at the age of 12 with his German parents who migrated to Australia post-WW2.

At the age of 23, Michael bought his current property in the foothills of the Barossa ranges, milking a herd of 40 cows, pursuing a successful career in town planning and helping raise three children.

Taking on the life of a dairy farmer full time, The Dairyman business was born eight years ago.

But the farming venture means more to him than just his income. He also takes pride in assisting the animals’ welfare with comforts such as rugs to keep the cattle warm and a shelter for the pigs.

Michael has a strong paddock to plate ethos and takes pride in the comfort of his livestock.

Rugging cows is not common practice, but Michael says it plays a part in ensuring the livestock live healthier lives, and in turn make better quality products.

“They are healthier because they are using less energy trying to keep themselves warm, meaning more energy is available for the two things they have to do which is produce milk and grow a calf,” he says.

“The pigs also have a shelter, so it’s a very warm environment and in summer they have plenty of shade.

“A low stress environment is very important for the welfare of the animals. Happy pigs and happy cows make happy products.”

The Dairyman has won many awards over the years including a gold medal at this year’s 2018 delicious magazine National Produce Awards.

While producing high quality dairy and pork products is at the forefront of The Dairyman’s operations, delivering an authentic farm experience to visitors is also a priority.

Michael also runs accommodation offerings at the farm, one is a luxury cottage that was once a working milking facility, the other an 1840s house once used to cut chaff and crush grain.

Guests are treated to a breakfast full of local produce and are also invited to join Michael during the afternoons to feed the pigs.

Michael says the majority of guests are domestic visitors, while 15-20% are international visitors.

“When you come and stay with us we spend a bit of time with you in the afternoons, you can hear the stories, feed the pigs, and that is something you won’t get elsewhere,” he adds.

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SA’s innovative 3D printers boosting growth in advanced manufacturing

Cutting edge 3D metal printers are keeping South Australian advanced manufacturing in the game with the innovative technology already attracting some 100 companies to the Playford region of Adelaide.

Three of the state-of-the-art printers now based in Edinburgh North are creating complex products made from aluminium, titanium and stainless steel, in what is being lauded as the southern hemisphere’s most advanced metal 3D printing facility.

Manager Piers Lincoln said the new facility would boost growth in the defence, medical device and engineering sectors with numerous projects already completed since it opened for business in April.

Work included confidential defence jobs along with work for innovative Adelaide health device company Austofix, that makes a range of specialist plates used in surgery for bone injuries.

“We’ve even had classic car enthusiasts coming with their Bay to Birdwood gems, desperately needing a part that’s no longer found and we’ve been able to make them,” Piers says.

Piers is institute manager at the University of Adelaide’s Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) overseeing the facility and where the idea for its creation originated.

IPAS manager Piers Lincoln.

The institute had been using a smaller 3D metal printer based at the university’s city campus for several years and recognised the need for more and larger printers in the state.

With the help of a $1.4 million former Labor State Government grant, the 3D printing facility is now the only metal additive manufacturing centre in Australia that’s available to companies on a commercial basis, putting SA at the forefront of additive manufacturing.

“Clients who use our current small 3D metal printing facility have had to go overseas to get access to larger printers for the manufacture of products,” the University of Adelaide’s Professor Julie Owens says.

The facility operates from a wing at Century Engineering with the printers able to quickly turn powdered metals like titanium and steel into solid gadgets and innovative devices with the help of a 1600-degree molten laser.

These products previously could have taken weeks to build.

These small Eiffel Tower replicas show the intricate capability of the 3D printing facility.

Having three printers also meant one metal material could be used solely in each machine, Piers says, slashing cleaning time between jobs that may require a different type of metal.

The larger printers sourced from British headquartered global company Renishaw can print products 12 times the size of the city printer.

“We’ve now had 100 companies shown through the facility and we’re working with about 10,” Piers says.

“One of the real benefits is some companies have had to go to New Zealand, Europe and the United States to get parts printed and to work with those overseas companies in terms of design is difficult.

“Now they can come in and understand the process, speak to designers, and see examples to work on a project.”

The goal was to continue growing the facility, Piers says, with another seven to 10 printers installed in the next five years including one producing plastic products at the Stretton Centre in northern Adelaide.

The facility is able to quickly turn powdered metals like titanium and steel into solid gadgets and devices that would otherwise take weeks to build.

“I think the future is going to be very bright for the facility with the number of people interested growing, it’s now a question of working with companies and understanding how to the get the most out of it,” Piers says.

He believes there are some “absolute gems of companies” in SA, including Maptek, Ellex medical and Norseld, a medical laser company that has made a world-first method for creating a thin diamond-like carbon coating at room temperature.

These companies have 200 to 300 employees which is “small by global standards” but are exporting most of their products “so no one ever hears what they are doing and they are absolutely world leading”.

The new facility was about helping these types of innovative SA companies to continue to grow.

The 3D printing facility is the most advanced in the southern hemisphere.

The 3D printing hub is also central to an applied research network including the University of Adelaide’s IPAS along with Optofab Australian National Fabrication Facility, the Stretton Centre and CSIRO’s Lab 22 additive manufacturing.

It’s backed by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, which aims to help manufacturers transition from low cost to advanced manufacturing.

And supported by the City of Playford, which was also involved with making the project happen, with Mayor Glenn Docherty saying the printers represented a new era in advanced and bespoke manufacturing that would create new avenues of development.

“We’re confident these printers will help create jobs, efficiencies and future proof businesses in key industries like defence, health, mining and the rail network,” he adds.

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Micro-X workforce is proof of life after automotive industry

Under the roof of the former Mitsubishi Motors assembly plant at Tonsley in Adelaide’s south, about a dozen ex-Holden workers are busy manufacturing x-ray systems that are the first of their kind in the world.

Manufacturing a Holden Commodore and a lightweight x-ray imaging system are, for obvious reasons, worlds apart, but according to Micro-X managing director Peter Rowland, company culture is the same.

When Peter was preparing to shift the relatively new Micro-X from Victoria to South Australia in 2015, he phoned the general manager of Holden’s Elizabeth factory which was headed for closure in two years’ time.

“I said ‘look, I’m setting up this company and my strategy is that I want to import the culture and practices of good manufacturing within the auto industry and I want to recruit some of your best and finest workers’,” he says.

“It’s all about the culture, it’s not just the skills that drives attention to detail, the quality, and the search for better, cheaper, simpler and faster ways to produce high quality products.

Inside Micro-X’s manufacturing facility.

“There is no other industry on earth that makes such a complicated thing as a motorcar as cost effectively and with such high quality as the auto industry.”

Micro-X received a loan from the former Labor State Government to set up operations in SA, choosing Tonsley’s Main Assembly Building (MAB) as the site where it would manufacture lightweight x-ray systems for the medical, defence and airport security sectors.

Former Holden worker Adam Williams was recruited as Micro-X’s first official employee and has since helped grow the business which now has a workforce of 36 and is on the cusp of expansion.

Micro-X’s lightweight x-ray imaging systems are expected to create better outcomes for imaging systems in the medical and military fields, with the company working with the Australian and UK defence forces.

Its DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray System is designed for Carestream Health Inc of Rochester, New York, an international x-ray systems giant.

The Nano uses world-first technology developed by the University of North Carolina and sourced by Micro-X’s partner XinRay Systems in which Micro-X has a 30% share.

The Nano weighs under 100kg making it more easily transportable around hospitals than the industry’s standard x-ray machines.

The mobile x-ray system is easily transported around hospitals and intensive care units, as it weighs under 100kg which is considerably lighter than the industry standard of about 600kg.

“It’s smaller, simpler and cheaper  … and it’s the first of this technology anywhere in the world. We are the first ones who have made it into a device, got regulatory approvals, and brought it to the market, it’s a global first for SA,” Peter says.

Micro-X is also developing a lightweight, digital mobile x-ray system, the Rover, through a contract with the Australian Defence Force.

The medical imager is designed for use in military deployed medical field hospitals, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The Rover is for use in military deployed hospital fields.

From this contract came another, to produce a bench-top prototype of the Mobile Backscatter Imager (MBI), a standoff imaging system for detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Peter says the MBI has “superman vision” allowing it to take a high resolution image of IEDs from a distance, reducing risks to explosive experts.

“We’ve proven that it works and now we’re talking to bomb disposal people not only in Australia but in the US too, we’re developing that product as we speak.”

Aside from the Nano, Rover and MBI, Micro-X is also working on the development of a lightweight x-ray system to detect explosives hidden in electronics at airports.

The majority of Micro-X products are sold outside of Australia by the company’s 6.5% shareholder, Carestream Health Inc.

Micro-X is undergoing a $7m expansion at the Tonsley Innovation District.

However, Peter says a couple of SA hospitals already have their eye on the mobile x-ray units, and that in 10 years’ time it will be hard to find a hospital in Adelaide that hasn’t adopted a Micro-X product.

To cater for the demand for its products and growth of its operations, the business is undergoing a $7m expansion of its facilities at Tonsley.

With the help of a $2.4 million Advanced Manufacturing Grant from the Federal Government, Micro-X will double the size of its current footprint, and also take up a separate 600sqm space still under Tonsley’s MAB roof.

The company also plans to recruit additional staff over the next 12 months and grow to about 50 employees.

“Two years from now we’re going to be manufacturing backscatter imagers and airport imagers, as well as a huge volume of mobile x-rays,” Peter says.

“And it’s all happening from Adelaide.”

I Choose SA for Advanced Manufacturing stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Industry in focus: Advanced Manufacturing

Throughout the month of September, the state’s advanced manufacturing industry will be under the magnifying glass as part of I Choose SA.

As SA transforms away from traditional manufacturing processes, innovative and sophisticated products and services are taking their place, creating new jobs and investment opportunities for the state. Read more stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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