FISH FUN: Dave Neuendorf and his family farm barramundi and Murray cod on their Flagstone Creek property.
FISH FUN: Dave Neuendorf and his family farm barramundi and Murray cod on their Flagstone Creek property.

You wouldn’t expect this farm in Queensland’s salad bowl

A FISH farm would be the last thing you would expect thriving deep in the Lockyer Valley's salad bowl.

But every salad pairs nicely with a fresh fillet of fish and one farming family has dived into an unusual but complementary farming project in Flagstone Creek.

As well as farming poultry, 9Dorf Farms produces tonnes of barramundi and murray cod per year.

At present, the Neuendorf family has more than 60,000 fish growing in the tanks.

From a 26x10sq m shed on their property, Dave and Bronwyn Neuendorf with their son Brenton, grow barramundi across a multi-stage production, comprised of more than 10 tanks.

A single tank holds as many as 4000 fish and as the fish grow, they're transferred to other tanks.

Dave said the fish project was a good alternative to modern farming.

The family had the idea to begin farming fish from their country property in 2011.

At the time, lucerne was their primary crop.

But, due to the lack of water, they turned more of their attention to the fish and, a year ago, stopped farming lucerne altogether.

"It's been pretty tough for a lot of people in mainstream farming at the moment, growing crops and that," Mr Neuendorf said.

"We used to do mainly lucerne farming and we will once again, when we get a bit of water - we haven't got enough water and the underground water is getting less and less as everyone pumps it out."

From a fish hatchery in Victoria, the Neuendorfs source fingerlings in lots of 5000 between four and five times a month.

While the numbers are staggering, Mr Neuendorf said 9Dorf Farms were not able to keep up with the demands of the market and would consider expanding, once the drought had broken.

"We're struggling to keep up to the market - we can't get anywhere near it," he said.

The fish phenomenon has attracted attention from onlookers - so much so the family has had to plan around it.

"When we first set up, I would have people driving in every day to have a look," Mr Neuendorf said.

"I said to Bronwyn, 'we're going to have to do farm tours because I can't get any work done'."


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