When cane growers diversify, they tend to run a few cattle or grow crops; not many cane farmers run chickens.
But Dan and Leanne Cornder are definitely bucking the trend and doing just that.
Their property at Braemeadows, east of Ingham in north Queensland, has free-range chickens as well as sugar cane — and they are about to build their own micro-abattoir.
“We’re starting up a new business growing free range heritage chickens,” Mr Corner explained.
“At the moment, our numbers are around about 200; because we’re in the process of building our new abattoir, we’re running quite small numbers.
“But once we get the business up and running, we’ll be running three to five thousand birds on-farm.”
The Cornders will be one of only a handful of chicken producers in Australia with their own abattoir on-farm.
They will reclaim part of a cane field 50 metres behind their homestead to build the abattoir.
And they will use fallow fields to accommodate their flock when these fields are being rested from growing cane.
“We’re hoping to actually put our chickens out on the pasture,” Ms Corner said.
“So, put them put on the fallow blocks, and live [there] about twelve months, and then put the cane back on that fallow block.”
They said their main motivation for doing it was a lifestyle change.
They will still grow a small amount of cane but will be relying less on this traditional crop in the sugar growing heartland of the Herbert region north of Townsville.