Optimisation of Lavender Oil

La Trobe University

  • Project code: PRJ-012568

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, August 24, 2022

  • National Priority: NEI - New and Emerging Industries - SM1


There is a current unmet export demand of 50-tonne for quality Australian lavender oil. Australian production of lavender oil was 3.5 Tonne p.a. 2011/12 representing around 1% of global production. To meet demand and to provide consistent and stable supply to the market, there is an urgent need for increased production in current farms and to encourage new producers. This expansion of production should use the best agronomy practices to give maximum returns and confidence to growers.
There is little information or research on growing conditions and breeding strategies for high-value essential oils such lavender. This provides an opportunity to undertake the R&D to make rapid gains in productivity and position Australia to take the lead in Lavender Oil farming and production. This project will fill knowledge gaps in soil science and agronomy important for maximising constituent aromatic oils, and develop the basis for future breeding strategies for increased yield and quality. The project will collect data on the factors that contribute to a quality product across the range of Australian climates and growing conditions to provide a resource for the industry to build capacity for a future sustainable industry.


New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

La Trobe University

Objective Summary

The outcomes of this project will be:

  1. new knowledge for growers on the conditions to grow lavender to obtain maximum yield in terms of input costs
  2. an increase in the number of growers, and
  3. increase in production to meet the currently unmet demand of 50 Tonne.
    The knowledge gaps in the lavender industry are significant as there is no rigorous methodology for growers to access on growth and production.

Project collaborators will target the impacts of soil characteristics, mineral nutrition and management (water, biotic & abiotic stress) on oil production in plants.
The industry partners have liaised with lavender growers for access to trial plots; processors for field extraction infrastructure; and producers/exporters for market insights. The research program will draw on LIAF experts in soil science, plant mineral nutrition, abiotic and biotic stress responses, field trials and data collection, curation and analyses to define the optimum agronomy conditions for plant growth and oil yield. The environmental and genetic factors (currently used germplasm) influencing component oil profiles will be assessed to determine future breeding strategies.