The South Australian Department of Agriculture, throughout its history, has carried out extensive field and glasshouse trials on a wide range of minor crops with potential for profit. This research was carried out in collaboration with commercial interests and farmers in suitable agronomic districts.
Crops such as cotton, peanuts and tobacco proved to be unsuitable for South Australia’s climatic zones. Others, such as some of the oilseed and pulse crops have developed into large scale industries, especially with the development of new cultivars and widening of crop rotations in the 1980’s.
The Department’s research with minor crops was always challenging. Not only were new agronomic techniques required, but harvesting, processing and marketing systems had to be established. For example, extensive trials of the rubber plant, Guayule, proved that rubber could be produced in South Australia. However without a commercial interest in its processing, the industry did not succeed.
Agronomy Branch Report, No 17, Minor Crops, March, 1970 (), provides an overview of many of the minor crops assessed in SA over the past 50 years. This report documents information about buck wheat, canary seed, castor bean, chicory, cotton, flax, grain sorghum, guayule, hops, linseed, millets, mustard, oilseed rape, peanuts, poppy seed, safflower, sesame, soya bean, sunflower and tobacco.
A number of other reports have been assembled about specific minor crops, including:
Other minor industries
While the focus has been on trialing and developing crops suitable for produvtion in South Australia, work has also centred around animal and related industry opportunities.
The following reports have been produced about attempts to develop other minor industries: