An ongoing challenge for the Australian Wine Industry is the management of CCA vineyard posts that have been broken (through mechanical damage during the harvesting process or breakage as the result of the age of the post). Currently these posts are being stockpiled in vineyards throughout South Australia. Stockpiling of CCA posts is not only an eye sore, they pose environmental and safety issues. CCA posts are treated with copper, chrome and arsenic (CCA). The CCA treatment is used to preserve wooden posts. Stockpiling concentrates a large number of broken posts in one area which heightens the risk of these chemical leaching into the soil. The concentration of CCA posts also poses a fire risk.
The problem of managing and disposing CCA posts in South Australia is chronic. According to Vine Health Australia, there are 76,175 Ha of registered vineyards in South Australia in 2015. It can be estimated that the total number of CCA posts being used in vineyards in South Australia is over 41 million. Using an average breakage rate of 1-2%, the stockpiling of CCA post grows by between 400,000 and 800,000 annually.
Grape growers can employ two methods of disposing of CCA waste posts. The illegal method is to burn the broken CCA posts. This method leads to contamination of the environment. The legal method is to send CCA posts to local waste transfer station. This project has identified a third option, which is to mill and re-use the posts for fencing and other agriculture needs.
Ricca Terra Farms is located in the Riverland, South Australia. The vineyards Ricca Terra Farms have purchased over the past 13 years all contain CCA post. Broken CCA posts are removed from the vineyard and stockpiled. This has been a growing concern as the stockpiles of CCA posts grow every year.
Ricca Terra Farms has identified pathways of managing its stockpile of CCA posts rather than sending to landfill. The management process converts broken CCA posts into usable posts that can be used by farmers for fencing.
With the assistance of Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Ricca Terra Farms has developed an on-farm milling process that has helped manage the stockpile of CCA posts. The scope of the project was to sort the stockpiles of CCA posts, cut off damaged ends, bundle into pack sizes of 30-50 posts (allows for suitable storage and transport) and finally sell.
About Ricca Terra Farms
Established in 2003, Ricca Terra Farms has forged a reputation of growing high quality wine grapes. Owned by Ashley & Holly Ratcliff, the vision for Ricca Terra Farms is to farm in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Delivery of Posts
Delivery of post within South Australia can be organised by Ricca Terra Farms. Please make contact so delivery can be arranged.
Availability of Posts
Bundles of CCA posts are available most of the time, although the volume of posts depends on the time of the year or the timing of vineyard re-developments. Make contact to discuss availability.
The price per post ranges from $2 – $4 per post.
Ricca Terra Farms is located approximately 210km north east of Adelaide on the Sturt Highway, Barmera, South Australia.