Burnett to become hub for ‘summer cash crop’

Pigeon Peas will be a main focus at the Kingaroy Research Facility. Picture: Pixabay

by Jessica McGrath

Kingaroy is poised to become an innovation hub in the agricultural world for pigeon pea research.

The Kingaroy Research Facility will expand with an additional 53 ha of adjoining land.

Minister for Agriculture Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the expansion of the facility demonstrated the Queensland Government’s commitment to agriculture in the Burnett region.

“We are investing in innovation so Queensland farmers can be the best in the world,” he said.

“We can now really ramp up pigeon pea work while expanding existing trials. As one of the most widely-consumed pulses in the world, it has great potential as a summer cash crop.”

Mr Furner said there was a strong international demand for pigeon peas.

“It could also help meet growing demand for plant protein here in Australia,” he said.

“It’s a crop well suited to Australian growing conditions and could eventually match mung beans as the best broadacre, dryland summer cropping option in subtropical Australia.”

The Kingaroy Research Facility has unique soils and growing conditions, purpose-built infrastructure and agricultural equipment, making it the ideal location for pigeon pea work.

“The expansion of the site with the 2019 addition of the adjoining land will allow the extended rotations researchers need for even more reliable results,” Mr Furner said.

The disposal of a smaller parcel of departmental land at nearby Redvale will raise funds to cover the purchase of the Kingaroy land.

“This transaction has significant advantages with the additional Kingaroy land being of an identical soil type to that at the existing research facility,” Mr Furner said.

“We’ll have much better water supply security thanks to an on-site bore and creek flows, which will allow the construction of a dam of up to 50 megalitres capacity.”

This announcement comes after the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries held a Pigeonpea field day walk during February 2021 to give farmers an opportunity to see first-hand the new experimental ‘quick maturing’ pigeonpea lines.