Through Venture Taranaki’s “Branching Out” programme, Leftfield Innovation (LFI) has undertaken a research project to investigate crop options suitable to the Taranaki region’s soil, climate and farm systems.
LFI facilitated workshops with farmers and producers in the region, undertook research on market opportunities and conducted site visits to farms.
Of particular interest was investigating the land use opportunities both within dairy farm systems, and as alternate crop options that could potentially generate higher economic returns with better environmental outcomes.
LFI considered a range of grains and legumes as part of the project, with garlic, sorghum, sweetcorn, kūmara and faba beans all showing potential and currently moving into field trials.
Nick Pyke, who led the research, emphasised the particular importance of considering markets, processing and logistics as part of the economic analysis of any opportunity.
Following this work, Venture Taranaki is expanding the Branching Out project and we expect to be able to scale up trials as a result of this initial work.
Article in NZ Herald: Venture Taranaki breaks ground with Branching Out’s growing trials