Heat from wheat a value-adding enterprise

Drought and low incomes have driven a South Australian farm to success with a new form of value-adding.

Jamie and Anne Siviour from Tooligie Hill, near Lock on the Eyre Peninsula, said it was now about eight years since they started making heat packs using their own wheat.

"We wanted to look at value adding and diversifying and so Jamie suggested the wheat packs," Anne said.

She said they were making hundreds of wheat packs for physiotherapists, pharmacies and sports people to heat up and use on injuries.

"Wheat is so good because it's a natural grain and has a lot of moisture so when you heat it in the microwave it holds onto that heat." In his early days of farming, Jamie Siviour could never have imagined he would spend his nights packing heat packs with wheat.

He said it was enjoyable but needed some preparation.

"The main thing is to make it as dust-free as possible and so I clean it several times, so that anyone with asthma or allergies to grain dust isn't affected," he said.

"We also have to keep weevils and pests and things like that out of it." The wheat packs vary from about 600 grams to almost two kilograms.

Mr Siviour said it was financially worthwhile.

"The wheat is probably the least-expensive part.

With wheat at $200 a tonne we are probably only looking at 20 or 30 cents of grain in some of the smaller ones," he said.

"But we are value-adding that with the material and the labour and so it's increasing it to $1,200-$1,300 a tonne." He said that after a long day of working on the farm he often wanted to get home and relax, but when the house was full of material and little packs waiting to be filled, there was not much time to rest.

"Some people say that sleep is overrated and yeah we don't find too much of that," he laughed.

"But it's been really interesting meeting all of our customers and it's just a totally different aspect to being able to value-add."

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