Researchers from The University of Western Australia are part of a consortium that was awarded a $2.5 million Commonwealth Government grant to develop solutions for agricultural waste disposal using black soldier fly technology.
The project is being led by Australian Pork Limited (APL), with Future Green Solutions as the commercial partner.
Future Green Solutions is currently testing black soldier fly technology as a waste management process at the UWA Shenton Park Research Station.
Project leader Dr Sasha Jenkins from UWA’s School of Agriculture and Environment and The UWA Institute of Agriculture said black soldier fly farming was an emerging industry that provided a low-cost waste management solution for farmers.
“Black soldier flies feed on agricultural waste, and the resulting larvae and their excrement is rich in protein,” Dr Jenkins said.
“Through black soldier fly farming, farmers can convert agricultural waste into high-quality fertilisers and potential protein sources for livestock feed.”
The multidisciplinary project aims to develop black soldier fly larvae and excrement of insects as a low-cost, tailored, slow-release, granulated fertiliser product that is safe to handle, store, transport and apply.
“Adoption of black soldier fly technology on piggeries has the potential to increase profitability whilst safeguarding future food security,” Dr Jenkins said.
The project 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.
The team aims to overcome the barriers to adoption through interdisciplinary collaboration and involving policymakers and farmers by conducting trials and extension activities.
The project funding from the Commonwealth Government and partners was part of round four of the
Rural Research and Development for Profit program.
“Adoption of black soldier fly technology on piggeries has the potential to increase profitability whilst safeguarding future food security,”Dr Jenkins
APL Research and Innovation General Manager Dr Rob Smits said the grant would help fund research on innovative approaches to tackle feed costs and overcome agricultural waste streams.
“As part of the Australian pork industry’s commitment to sustainable farming and processing practices, these early research studies are very important to understand further commercial opportunities for the pork industry to become carbon positive,” Dr Smits said.
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, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and Future Green Solutions.