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Kangaroo grass – super crop of the future?

Grain Central, December 12, 2019

A BENDIGO-BASED research team’s work to unlock the potential of Kangaroo Grass as a viable cropping option in the face of climate change is receiving Australian Government backing of $1.82 million.

Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the project could be a game changer for dryland cropping enterprises through the south eastern Australian wheat and sheep belt.

“Kangaroo Grass has characteristics that make it resilient to prolonged drought and extreme variances in temperature and rainfall,” Minister McKenzie said.

“It’s an extremely hardy and durable perennial native grass that is nutritious and palatable to livestock when it is young – but it is also being recognised as a potential grain crop in its own right.”

Senator McKenzie said the project would research and draw heavily on traditional Indigenous knowledge to help farmers develop more of an understanding of factors limiting germination and the establishment success of the species in a commercial cropping situation.

“Our government sees great benefits in this innovative approach by Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to increase the size of seed production areas by using science-based evidence to select best yielding varieties for application to varying climates and growing conditions,” she said.

“There’s also a valuable outreach and knowledge sharing component to this work through the ongoing process of engagement with Traditional Owners, farmers and Landcare groups.

“Workshops, site visits and direct engagement will be undertaken to support the up-skilling of land managers and traditional owner groups to increase the uptake of this novel approach to cereal crop production.”

Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation has received a $1.82 million grant for the project under the second round of the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.

Kangaroo grass seed can not only be harvested to produce flour for bread, but the plants can also be grazed by livestock.

Source: Minister for Agriculture

 

 

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Comments

  1. Jan Holland, December 27, 2019

    Bruce Pascoe is said to be the expert on Kangaroo Grass, yet despite growing it for years now, he still has not produced enough of it to be able to sell any from his Black Duck Foods business. As Pascoe also said, ““It’s terribly hard to get flour out of it, but the thing about kangaroo grass is that it is prolific and every farmer has got it in one form or another,” https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/country-living/bruce-pascoes-dark-emu-unveils-proud-history-of-indigenous-ag/news-story/ee209c4c91b79e5dc965b1fef1137ad0CO

  2. Roslyn Ross, December 14, 2019

    Kangaroo Grass is common in many parts of the world. In Africa it is considered to be famine food. It is not suitable for sheep and has low seed yield. The reason why it is not and has never been a super-crop is because there are vastly better grain/seed choices.

    In addition, Kangaroo Grass, or Themeda Triangra, needs fire to thrive and the loss of it indicates that Australia has less bushfires than it once had and surely that is a good thing. No doubt with regular Aboriginal burnings prior to the arrival of the British, common to all stone-age peoples, this Grass had an environment it liked.

    But today, with 24 million Australians not 300,000, such fires are an indulgence we cannot permit.

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