Accelerating Wattle Seed production for the Australian Native Food Industry

Australian Native Food Industry Limited

  • Project code: PRJ-012271

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Monday, June 22, 2020

  • Project completion date: Sunday, July 2, 2023

  • Journal Articles From Project: Domesticated Australian wattle seeds (Acacia species): nutritional values, techno-functional properties and toxicological assessments after roasting International Journal of Food Science and Technology (Issue: International Journal of Food Science and Technolo on 23/6/2023)

  • National Priority: NEI - New and Emerging Industries - M1


The Wattle Seed (Acacia species) industry has the potential to be a game changer in the Australian agriculture sector. It is arid adapted, suits our climate, and it’s a tree crop that can produce sustainably year on year. There are over 100 edible wattle species recognised across Australia and they grow in every ecosystem represented across the entire continent, including Tasmania and many of our islands.

Acacias are:

  • The most abundant tree species in Australia
  • Fast growing pioneer species.
  • Adapted to poor soils where introduced pasture/crops cannot grow.
  • Can grow on steep non-arable land.
  • Can be used as environment rehabilitation trees (Gully’s, hills, and degraded areas).
  • Many can produce harvest seed crops from Year 2.
  • Are legumes, fix nitrogen and absorb/capture carbon
  • Are perennial and can be longer lived with silvicultural management
  • Require minimal management for growth & longevity
  • Pruning’s from trees have low C/N ratios- so good for composting to enhance soil fertility for pasture/crops.
  • Can be grown as plantations, windbreaks or agroforestry systems to complement and enhance mainline farming enterprises.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Can produce seed & other services even in drought years.
  • Selection & breeding will give stable annual seed production for decades.
  • Can be grown in horticultural enterprises as per Nut trees as clonal & grafted seed orchards for significant and stable seed production.

Many wattle species that are edible are used in all types of land rehabilitation (mining and  environmental). It is estimated that the industry needs to triple its production volumes over the next five years to reach a GVP of $10M. This does not take into account the value of processed or value-added product that is the common practice for current growers that results in better pricing returns at the farm gate or from wild harvest production. This project is designed to achieve commercial plantation production to enable a GVP of over$10M to be achieved through research on existing plantings and new trials for species selection and agronomy management, research to develop mechanical planting and harvesting machinery, that are designed to also provide development and extension information. The project will also facilitate the development of marketing and supply chain information and develop investor strategies and model.


New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

Australian Native Food Industry Limited

Objective Summary

Research is needed into the following areas:

  • Plant selection from current established planting and identified wild populations as the basis for new plantings and the establishment of the basis for a future breeding program (not part of this project). This would include nutritional and toxicological testing of all species not yet carried out for food safety issues to be identified and dealt with.
  • Species agronomy management research that takes into account different production areas and the management of multiple species plantings to provide the basis for trials for demonstration and provision of extension material.
  • Mechanical planting and harvesting methodology to provide the basis for plantation commercial production.
  • Investor models to enable new players to invest and enter the industry.
  • Market analysis including diversification of uses to enable future marketing strategies.
  • Health and nutritional benefits of new species examined for food safety and marketing purposes.