Well, we know peanut hay especially and say some peat-up by-products have really good nutritional qualities for cattle. The option of having a dual purpose, you can also have another income stream for your operation and also there's by-products that can go into your cattle operation as well.

You can have your fodder crop early. You've got your nuts. But then you'll also be able to bail it for fodder again, so you can get probably three bites of cherry.

Groufer has got together and wanted to make research more relevant and more connected to the growers.

Dual purpose peanuts for northern Australia is a collaboration between the CRC for developing Northern Australia CQUniversity and Beqa.

And we're looking at expanding Australian production and what that means is we need more peanuts grown across Australia and professionally North Queensland is an ideal place to grow peanuts. So, probably the area in the last couple of years where we've gone into is the burdican which is another area where we have this dual purpose trial we've gone from you know growing three hectares a couple of years ago growing about 250 this year so we are looking into north Queensland especially irrigated areas.

We're looking at trials in Emerald in Central Queensland in air and Tully and Georgetown in North Queensland and we're looking at how they grow up near Darwin in the northern territory and also in Katherine.

I think it's important to be able to show what we can grow. But to be able to use them you know for different purposes.

We're trialling commercial lines to look at how they grow, whether we can take in-season biomass cuts, and how those in-season biomass cuts might impact the nut production both quantity and quality.

So, our role is to integrate ag tech into current farming practices. So whether that's monitoring soil equipment weather and then trying to integrate that into a final solution.

Different crops whether you can put in with an air seed or whether it needs precision planting the setup of the machine you know for precision planting twin row versus single rod getting the right plates. Especially with the new crops, there's a learning process for everyone so if we can be part of that we can then share the knowledge with the customers so that when they buy a machine it's back to the right level.

We're hoping that we will be able to find an option to for Northern Australian beef producers to have another potential high-quality high protein feed source to fill feed gaps, particularly across winter either through possibly grazing but potentially just cut and carry hay.

It's a dual purpose there's a big opportunity out there with cattle and with irrigation in our region and usually, our climate commits with weather that this would be able to be pulled off here in year out.

As the Australian cropping industry embraces the untapped potential of the Tropical North, it is also being challenged to adapt traditional practices to changing climatic conditions.

CQUniversity is working with industry to design viable farming systems that can survive the increasingly regular extreme weather events – be it drought, torrential rainfall or heatwaves – while meeting the community’s expectations to minimise impact on the land and water.

With campuses in wet and dry tropical cropping areas including Emerald, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns CQUni is perfectly placed to support industry produce more from less in both dryland and irrigated production systems, through selection of tropically adapted varieties, the inclusion of new high-value crops in traditional rotations, or the implementation of smart irrigation technologies.

Our team brings together a suite of research skills in crop drought tolerance, improved water use efficiency, abiotic stress management, and sustainable agronomic practices, with the goal of delivering ‘smarter farming systems’ that sustainably maximise productive output from every drop of available moisture and every gram of fertiliser.

CQUniversity has a proven track record in novel irrigation methodologies such as oxygation and fertigation, and a reputation as a leader in identifying new water-efficient crops, including dryland rice, black sesame and tropical pulses suitable for production in the variable conditions of northern Australia.

Specialist research skills in:

  • Water use efficiency in irrigated and dryland systems
  • Crop physiology and production agronomy
  • Abiotic stress adaptation to tropical environments
  • Smart irrigation technologies, including oxygation and fertigation
  • Plant productive response to changes in atmospheric carbon
  • Drought-tolerant tropical legumes production
  • Broadacre production of high-value spices
  • Rainfed rice production
  • Alternative fertilizer technologies for sustainable soils

Spicing Up the North

This project featured field trials to test the suitability of six different high-value spices – black sesame, fennel, cumin, carroway, kalonji and kalijiri – to real-world operating systems in Northern Australia. The research team has developed agronomic advice to support grower adoption, with commercial supply contracts now in place with farmers to replace imports of kalonji (also known as nigella). It also provided the foundation for a major national program of research led by CQU to expand the sesame industry.

Read more here.

Grain and Graze North: Dual-Purpose Peanuts

CQU researchers are assessing a range of new dual-purpose peanut varieties for their suitability to tropical farming systems. Trials are evaluating agronomy, crop physiology, pasture, fodder and the economics varieties which produce large volumes of foliage, and their response to an early season biomass cutting to provide fodder for cattle, and the consequent impacts on nut yield and harvest timing.

Read more here.

Associate Professor Surya P. Bhattarai

Surya is a practical crop physiologist with extensive experience in applied agricultural research focused on crop adaption to abiotic stresses particularly in tropical environments. Surya’s current collaborative projects with industry includes research into spices, condiments, pulses and grains, and previously led research in rice, cotton and cane. These crops have all been assessed for improving crop water productivity, soil/nutrient management, and adapting to heat stress in tropical conditions.

Dr Tieneke Trotter

Tieneke is a crop and pasture agronomist who has a background in ecology and management of perennial weeds of pastures. Her Ph.D. was focussed on quantifying the distribution and spread of Nassella trichotoma, an emerging weed on the Northern Tablelands of NSW using remote sensing, GIS and population modelling.  She also assessed the plant physiology and growth habits of this weed in this new environment and developed a BMP for the control of this weed species. Tieneke has worked on a number of research and consultancy projects utilising remote sensing, GIS and agri-tech to monitor the impacts of mining on the agricultural and natural environment.

Dr Mani Naiker

Mani holds a PhD in applied chemistry. His research work has primarily focused on the investigation of highly polar compounds (water solubles) for additional bioactivity studies (such as a such as antibacterial and anticancer). As such he has worked on devolving appropriate protocols for the isolation, purification and characterization of phytochemical(s) with health benefits through bioassay guided fractionation. Furthermore, identification of new compounds will potentially allow us to synthesize and the prepare more biologically active derivatives of these novel compounds.

Dr Drew Portman

Drew completed a Biomedical Science Degree followed by Honours in Food Science. His PhD focused on the incorporation of frost-affected lentil seeds milled into flour in novel food products including bread, biscuits, and extrudate. At the completion of his PhD Drew undertook additional units in soil health, pest and weed management, and weather patterns with Longerenong Agricultural Collage.  During his PhD Drew managed the wheat quality laboratory at Agriculture Victoria in Horsham. He has also worked as a technical officer at Global Plant Breeders in Horsham.

Pasmita Neupane – Masters Candidate

Pasmita is a Master’s research student at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton Queensland. She is double degree holder in Master in Business Administration cum Master in Professional Accounting. She graduated from Tribhuwan University in Nepal with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture. Currently, she is working on grain and graze traits of tropical pulses in Northern Australia.

Current research projects:

  • Evaluation of grain and graze traits in tropical pulses

Industry and funding partners:

  • AgriVentis Technologies Ltd Australia.

Janice Mani– PhD Candidate

Janice is a Chemistry PhD student studying the antioxidative and anticancer properties in selected Australian plants/crops . She holds a Masters degree in Chemistry (2018) and Bachelors of Science degree majoring in Biology and Chemistry (2014) from The University of the South Pacific (Fiji). Her research project aims to identify potential anticancer properties of Australian grown plants and crops through analytical chemistry and cell culture protocols and ultimately isolate and purify novel bioactive compound(s).

Thesis topic: Antioxidative and anticancer potential of phytochemicals in Australian plants

Elena Hoyos – Masters Candidate

Elena is a Masters by Research student at CQUniversity, North Rockhampton campus, studying the biochemical components of the northern Australian-grown black sesame as a source of health-benefitting compounds. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sciences of Bioengineering (2016) and a Diploma of Information Technology (2021) from Brighton College (BNE). Her research project aims to evaluate the typical levels of health-promoting compounds of the black sesame cultivated in the northern Australian region through analytical chemistry-based protocols, as well as assessing the variation of numerous sesame varieties grown under different environmental conditions.

Current research project:

  • Biochemical characterisation of the northern Australian-grown black sesame as a source of health-benefitting compounds

Industry and funding partners:

  • Agriventis Technologies Ltd (AUS)
  • Colombian Agriculture Department and Rural Development (COL)
  • Specialized Network Corporation of Research Centre and Technological Development of Agriculture and livestock industry (CENIRED) (COL)

Megha Subedi – Masters candidate

Megha’s Masters research project is evaluating chickpea germplasm for adaptive drought tolerance traits, total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity and glycemic index. The qualification will build upon the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree obtained from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science at Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Her research interests are crop physiology, crop adaptation to tropical environments, soil science, and crop quality.

Current research projects:

  • Evaluation of Contrasting Chickpea germplasm for adaptive drought tolerance traits, total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity and glycemic index

Industry and funding partners:

  • AgriVentis Technologies