CATEGORY: PRODUCTIVITY (GROWER)
A multi-pronged business with enterprises as diverse as peanuts and Duboisia are a productive mix for Kingaroy, Queensland, grower Sonie Crumpton.
The third-generation farmer oversees much of the 2000ha farming operation which vertically integrates its production.
Together with the farmers he sources peanuts from, Sonie produces about 40 per cent of Australia’s peanuts which are sold in anything from 25kg bags to 1000kg bulk bags.
The Duboisia is a unique crop, a tree which produces a drug which is used in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products like Buscopan. The family’s own company, Alkaloids of Australia, extracts the component from the plants’ leaves and then exports this around the world.
Yet it is under the ground where the greatest changes have been made in the past few years. Sonie has led the company’s move to harvest spring water to irrigate crops, something which is not usually done in the Kingaroy district. He says irrigation has the potential to double peanut yields, and extensive earthmoving work and the investment in six centre pivots is seeing this vision for business growth come to fruition.
Sonie has also overseen the establishment of a research and development program for the farm after the state government pulled out of funding research. The employment of a plant breeder should see new, more productive varieties of both peanuts and Duboisia into the Crumpton farming system.