We began the morning with a visit to Hassad foods head office to be briefed on their business.
Hassad Foods is a
Qatar based company established in
2008 with a capital of $1billion. It was initially set up by the Qatar Royal
family to ensure food security for their nation. It has now changed some what
to be more commercially driven toward investing in Agriculture. Its strategy is to invest in five key areas of
Agricultural production to ensure its food security. These are Wheat, Sheep,
Poultry, Sugar, & Rice.
Hassad are very much a community conscious investor, http://www.hassad.com.au/ .
Australia is one of their key areas of
investment due to its stable government and, because it already supplies a
significant amount of product to Qatar. They have purchased 90 farms
totaling 250, 000ha in Australia.
After our briefing we visited 'Irrekaia' one of the four farms Hasad owns in
It is a grass farm that produces irrigated hay using treated effluent from the
city of Qatar.
This is all sold into the local market for people to feed their livestock.
The amazing thing for me was that they were using Rohdes grass for making their hay. We consider this grass one of the worst summer weeds we have to contend with in our cropping programme. I can now understand why it grows so well in our soils after seeing the conditions it was growing in.They were achieving 9 cuts of grass per year at 5t/ha per cut, In conditions where daytime temperatures reach up to 50 degrees C in summertime.
This is the type of soil the crop I am kneeling in was being grown in, yes it is basically limestone.
The surrounding country side is virtually a barren moonscape, It reminded me a bit of Coober Peedy in Australia.
Most of the soils in Qatar are like this, have a look at this soil pit I came across, basically limestone all the way down. I would not have thought anything could have grown on this. It just goes to show, that all you need to add is water and nutrition and you can just about grow anything anywhere.
A 2.5 meg turkey nest dam used to irrigate one of the pivot sites. Each pivot receives equivalent to a dam full of water each day.
I was very impressed with the front gate to this farm, I think I will have to take some inspiration home from this to improve my front gate.