Posted March 01, 2020 07:51:38Trent Barker, a former rugby league player and now a coach, is warning the sport is in danger of becoming an expensive commodity.
Key points:Barker says grass is becoming an Australian staple because it’s cheap to grow and it’s easy to storeThe price of grass has skyrocketed over the last decadeThe former player says the sport needs to change for the betterIt’s not the only grass to be hit by the changing tide of Australia’s growing grass industryMr Barker said grass has long been an Australian luxury and he hoped Australians would finally embrace the soft and resilient nature of the grass.
“If you look at the way Australian grass was grown, it was the same way in many places, it would be the same size, same texture, same flavour,” he said.
“It’s just that the Australian grass industry is not the same as the American grass industry.”
The Australian Grass Association says grass production and marketing have increased over the past decade.
“There is more and more interest in using Australian grass, and this is driven by a lot of people who want to make money,” Associate General Manager of Grass Industry and Tourism, Andrew Young, said.
He said the industry needed to find a way to manage the grass industry while also keeping the quality of the product.
“We have a grass that is in the ground, that has not been watered and that has been planted in the right way,” Mr Young said.”[The industry] has to be prepared to invest in its infrastructure, its processes and in the future it’s going to be much better.”
Mr Young said while grass was becoming an American luxury, Australia was a “giant grass” with a “huge amount of land”.
“It is a great grass,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“I think grass has a lot to offer.”
Mr Barker was also one of the first people to raise concerns about the quality and durability of Australian grass.”[It] was a grass in my backyard and I was shocked,” he recalled.
“The grass was a lot more soft than grass in the United States and I could feel the impact on my foot.”
He was also concerned about the number of people purchasing grass.
In the US, grass is often used for lawns, while in Australia it is more commonly used for construction.
“A lot of it was being used for recreational purposes, and people are putting it up as an investment hedge for their investment,” Mr Barker said.
The Australian grass Association says Australian grass has grown by almost 20 per cent in the past 10 years.
“Australia is a big grassland, we’ve had a lot grass here for the last 25 years,” Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Senator David Leyonhjelm, said in a statement.
“So, it has changed a lot and we need to be careful about what we buy and what we do with it.”
When we talk about the supply chain, we need farmers to have good systems in place, so that grass can be grown and stored and then it can be sold.
“As a result of this change in supply chains, we are seeing a lot less grass.”
In Australia, farmers can purchase grass for up to $500 a hectare and farmers can sell it to farmers for up $1,000 a hectale.