The oyster is a natural wonder. It’s a keystone aquatic creature that is instrumental to the health of our oceans and is one of nature’s true superfoods, boasting a nutritional profile that is hard to match in any other source of protein. With a true taste of the ocean, oysters are only second to the prawn as the most sought after food for an Aussie Christmas spread.
For generations, oyster farmers around the country have cultivated oysters using traditional methods. The methods of growing have shifted slightly in some areas, however it remains a natural process even in large hatcheries.
As new generations enter the industry, these methods continue to evolve. With the spotlight shining on sustainability across all sectors, including agriculture and aquaculture, new generation farmers are much more educated in environmentally friendly farming practices and how others perceive the industry.
For oysters farmers to move into a more sustainable and profitable model, they must look to technology, innovation and automation.
Another factor influencing oyster farming operations is the digital space. The new world – well not so new now – is however somewhat of an alien landscape for many. Social media and collective marketing groups have infiltrated and influenced the way stories are told and the oyster industry is evolving quickly in the digital marketing space. As new markets replace old ones, farmers in all sectors move with the marketing times. The feel good, emotive marketing buzzwords of the past decade will continue into the next.
Stories that reassure consumers that what they buy and what they eat comes from environmentally conscious producers are the stories that sell.
This movement is well underway, and the messaging in the marketplace on the sustainability and quality of Australian oysters is having a positive effect on the public perception of oysters here in Australia and also internationally. To stay competitive, oysters growers are embracing the sustainability stories and adding automation and other digital technologies into their farms to support and validate their claims.
At this time of year, the sustainability pitch is competitive, with many food sources doing what they can to own the claim. This includes the meat and poultry industry, seafoods and the vegetable market. You only need to see how the major supermarkets are rebranding into a green business model to notice the trend.
Whilst SED Graders are not a marketing or digital based business, we are an engineering company specialising in innovation and automation to the oyster farming community. Our charter is to deliver high quality automation machinery that enables our customers to fast track high labour intensive production requirements, improving their profitability and enabling farmers to spend more time on sustainability and environmental processes.
As an example, one of our vision graders will grade and bag up to 27,000 oysters each hour. It is a single operator system, whereas it takes about 13 workers to hand grade at this rate. This allows farmers to redeploy their staff into other areas of the farm, instantly improving the farm’s efficiency. Secondly, the grading system creates a visually appealing and consistent oyster grade that the market demands. Coupling the vision grader with our new overcatch treatment system creates an enormous advantage in the sustainability space. It greatly reduces mortality rates, results in fewer emissions due to cold temperature treatment rather than hot, and can be easily installed into an existing grading line without hindering the grading machine’s production performance.
The oyster industry is sustainable and over the past pre pandemic years, the industry has experienced growth in sales and farm gate pricing. The domestic market is on the improve and interest from overseas continues its upward trajectory. It is an industry that can retain its tradition in the growing cycle and has the unique opportunity to improve its profitability and market share through automation.
SED Graders is an Australian and family owned company, creating automation technologies that are greatly improving the efficiency and profitability of oyster farms in Australia and around the world.
With many of our grading and sorting machines benefiting oyster farming operations throughout Australia, Japan and in the USA, SED Graders are continually innovating advanced solutions such as our overcatch treatment prototype. Just like oyster farming, SED Graders play the long game and with over 20 years in the industry you can trust our machines and our team to deliver on our promises.
Contact us for any questions you may have and when you are considering a SED Graders vision grading machine or upgrading your current machine with an overcatch treatment bath.