Alternative novel crops

FARMERS WHO want to break into the novel crops market should remember they have the option to grow traditional crops but sell them for a different purpose.

Hazel MacTavish, an independent consultant on novel crops, told visitors to the show that novel crops were not just things like borage or camomile.

“When we talk about novel crops, we shouldn”t forget there are other uses for traditional crops,” she said.

“Think about alternative varieties you could grow for ethnic markets.”

Dr MacTavish said there were plenty of opportunities in the novel crop market as many industries were interested in natural plant-derived materials.

The gross margin for a crop like crambe was about 500-600/ha, and for borage it could be as high as 800/ha.

But she warned that buyers were looking for scale and for continued supplies, so growers had to be in it for at least the short to medium term.