Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping

CENTRAL Queensland farmers have the opportunity to inspect the performance of high-value spice crops in broadacre growing conditions at a field day to be held outside of Rockhampton on 19 February.
Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping Farm tour could spice up the value of broadacre cropping

A trial in Queensland is looking at spice production in broadacre farming areas. Image courtesy Central Queensland University.

Staff writer

The field day and crop inspection forms part of a three-year project being led by CQUniversity and Agriventis Technologies, funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA).

Researchers and growers are trialling the performance of five different spice crops - black sesame, cumin, caraway, kalonji, and fennel - with harvest approaching of the first field trials of the summer plantings of different varieties of black sesame and fennel.

"The trials are designed to identify the varieties of these spices best suited to Australian growing conditions, as well as better understand how to manage these crops for maximum return," lead researcher and Associate Professor, Surya Bhattarai said.

The new varieties being trialled have been supplied by AgriVentis Technologies, which is seeking to develop a grower base in Australia to meet domestic and export demand of spices.

It has been estimated that global production of black sesame alone will need to double over the next 20 years to keep pace with booming demand, creating an opportunity for Australian farmers to profit from the production of this high-value crop, which currently returns about $1500/tonne.

Researchers and farmers who are hosting trials at these sites across northern Australia will also be in attendance to share their insights into the challenges of growing high-value spice crops in the challenging conditions of northern Australia.

The field day will be held at Foxwell Farming, 1553 Ridgelands Road, Alton Downs. A field walk to inspect the crops will be included.

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