A project being led by Australian Pork Limited (APL), with Future Green Solutions as the commercial partner, was awarded a $2.5 million Commonwealth Government during round four of the Rural Research and Development for Profit program to develop solutions for agricultural waste disposal using black soldier fly technology.
The project is currently underway, with Future Green Solutions testing black soldier fly technology as a waste management process at the University of Western Australia (UWA) Shenton Park Research Station.
As the Australian pork industry continues to commit to sustainable farming and processing, APL Research and Innovation General Manager Dr Rob Smits said the grant will help to fund research on innovative approaches will tackle feed costs and overcome agricultural waste streams. Dr Smits stated, “These early research studies are very important to understand further commercial opportunities for the pork industry to become carbon positive”.
To do this, the multidisciplinary project aims to use black soldier fly larvae to reduce industry waste through using the by-product created, known as frass. Frass, the black soldier fly excrement, can then be used as a granulated fertiliser product. This fertilizer is not only effective, low-cost and slow release but also safe to handle, store, transport and apply. Dr Sasha Jenkins, project leader at UWA explains “Black soldier flies feed on agricultural waste, and the resulting larvae and their excrement is rich in protein…farmers can convert agricultural waste into high-quality fertilisers and potential protein sources for livestock feed.”.
Dr Jenkins believes that “Adoption of black soldier fly technology on piggeries has the potential to increase profitability whilst safeguarding future food security” and to increase adoption, the team will collaborate and involve policymakers and farmers in trials and extension activities intended to help overcome identified adoption barriers. To read more about our efforts to collaborate with industry during this project, read our articles “Drivers and Barriers to Adoption of BSF” and “Understanding Current Waste Management Practices”.
The project also engages environmental, plant, and soil scientists, entomologists, and agricultural economists and engineers to quantify the biosecurity, environmental, and financial opportunities and risks associated with the new frass fertiliser and soil improver products.
Other industry funding has been provided by AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, Dairy Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.