A Bendigo-based research team’s work to unlock the potential of Kangaroo Grass (Themeda Triandra) 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.
“This project will 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.
“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.
“Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we’ll do that in part through investing in innovative projects like this,” Minister McKenzie said.