The 'feedlot' that is or not

A screen of feed bales conceals the operation from view.
A screen of feed bales conceals the operation from view.

TO BE a feedlot or not to be a feedlot?

That is the question Gympie Regional councillors will have to answer after complaints that an existing dairy near Wolvi is gearing up for operations that could breach council planning rules.

However, council planning committee chairman Ian Petersen says the question is whether the farming operation is intensive enough to be called a feedlot.

Cr Petersen confirmed that council had received a complaint about the operation and had sent an officer to speak to the owners.

“We’re trying to organise a meeting on-site with the owners and we’re seeking an assessment from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries,” he said yesterday.

“I’m not convinced it’s a feedlot, but we’ll have to have a look at it and talk to the owners.

“It’s a dairy where they intend to feed cattle.

“The dairy is an existing one.

“If they start feeding the cattle to the point where they are giving them more food than can normally be produced on the property, then it is classed as an intensive use.

“But it can be a grey area,” he said, indicating that farmers were allowed to feed their stock.

Some neighbours of the operation, in Neusavale Road, have complained that the property appears to be in the process of being developed as an intensive operation which could lead to dust, noise and animal waste pollution of air and waterways in the area.

Feedlots and other intensive animal husbandry operations have become a hot topic in the Gympie region recently, with neighbours also complaining about one at the other end of the region, near Kinbombi Falls in the Goomeri area.

It is a pressure councillors expect will grow, with economic forecasts this week indicating that protein products including beef, milk, chicken and pork are likely to enjoy rapidly growing demand as an increasingly urbanised and affluent Asian market looks to import food and switch to a higher protein diet.

The ANZ Bank has forecast this would lead to a boom in agriculture.

Gympie Times

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