Spicing up the north - project update

Region: Greater Darwin | Topic: Horticulture
28 Sep 2020

Black sesame seeds

Through the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) and CQ University researchers, our growers and partners are trialling the performance of five different spice crops at sites across Northern Australia.

The results of the black sesame trial/harvest are in with the top-performing varieties identified!

The performance of black sesame varieties from AgriVentis Technologies at six different locations, with a range of conditions across northern Australia has been assessed. The yields ranged from 1.4 t/ha up to 3.0 t/ha depending on variety and location.

The highest seed yield recorded was in Biloela followed by Rockhampton, Katherine, Ayr, Darwin and Tully. The seed yield between the varieties varied significantly at Biloela, Rockhampton and Darwin, but did not differ between the varieties at Ayr, Tully and Katherine -showing a significant genotype by environment interaction.

These results lay an important foundation for the establishment of this new high-value cropping industry.

2020 winter crops

The winter crops, originally planted as a summer trial, are performing well with the crops relishing the cooler conditions.

Some interesting insights have been noted with the Burdekin trial planting the crops as seedlings using methods from the small-crop sector, while the Biloela trial planting caraway crop has recovered well from the setback of heavy frost.

The harvesting of cumin, caraway, kalonji and fennel in some regions commenced in August.

Images of caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in KatherineImages of caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in KatherineImages of caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Katherine

From left: caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Katherine.

Caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Darwin.Caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Darwin.Caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Darwin.

From left: caraway, cumin and kalonji plantings at the DITT NT trial site in Darwin.

Next steps

The next stage of the research will involve on-farm verification of selected genotypes (from the first-year) to evaluate the adaptability of the variety to local farming conditions.

While the early results are encouraging, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before full-fledged production can commence. These include weed control, optimisation of mechanical harvesting, and providing robust agronomic information - especially concerning optimum planting times on the different regions and density of planting. These activities are built into a parallel project funded by AgriFutures,

More information

  • Download the full sesame seed technical report on the CRNCA website. The results include detailed measures from each site on each variety’s yield, biomass, seed oil content and agronomic performance.
  • Watch the Spicing up the north project webinar on the Agriculture Divisions YouTube webinars playlist.
  • Contact Tieneke Trotter, Strategic Partnership Manager, CQU t.trotter@cqu.edu.au if you are interested in becoming involved or joining as a grower.
  • Contact Chelsea Moore, Industry Development Officer, DITT (Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism) chelsea.moore@nt.gov.au 08 8999 2323
Back to NT Rural Review - September 2020