Agronomic Evaluation of Teff in Tasmania
Tasglobal Seeds Pty Ltd
Project code: PRJ-007907
Project stage: Closed
Project start date: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Project completion date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
National Priority: NEPI-Incubate new and emerging plant industries, support breakthrough projects
Teff (Eragrostis Tef) has proven to be a new cereal crop that has potential to expand significantly into the national and international health food market. Its lack of gluten and high iron content are well known, and with a large component of the Australian populations seeking gluten free/high fibre products an expanding market clearly exists.
Teff is a C4 plant that grows best in a warm temperate climate, and the summer temperatures occurring in Tasmania equate very well with the plants source, the highlands of Ethiopia. Whilst Teff has already demonstrated its potential in Tasmania, the gradual onset of climate change and the resultant warming will facilitate the adoption of the crop throughout the newly established irrigation areas.
Tasmania is somewhat limited in the number of summer growing crops even with irrigation. The high costs of production and transport to market reduce the options available to farmers, and it is self-evident that in order to both compete and utilise the “clean and green image” more high value crops need to be introduced.
The proposed project, if successful, will quickly lead to a value adding chain with the end point being the production of a Tasmanian branded Teff flour.
New and Emerging Plant Industries
Tasglobal Seeds Pty Ltd
The overall programme is to establish whether Teff can be produced in Tasmania with grain yields that make it a viable proposition for farmers. Two cultivars have been developed in Central north Tasmania, however, the risk of both late and/or early frost pose a threat to the crop’s success. However, there are areas in Tasmania that have little frost and these occur well outside the summer growing temps required by the crop. Consequently, Teff needs to be trialled on a field scale in these areas to establish both best agronomic practise (fertiliser/herbicides) and harvesting techniques.
This is the second step (the first being germplasm evaluation) and most important, in determining the future of this crop. If the research results are promising the next, and final, step will commence and is the establishment of milling, packaging and fully commercial supply of Teff flour.