Tequila farming? Ay caramba!

CQU Associate Professor Nanjappa Ashwath believes agave tequilana could be grown around Bundaberg.
CQU Associate Professor Nanjappa Ashwath believes agave tequilana could be grown around Bundaberg. Submitted

TEQUILA has fuelled many a wild night out and now it could be set to fuel our cars as well.

Two cane growers in the Childers area, who did not want to be named, are working with Ausagave and CQUniversity to trial the growth of agave tequilana in the area.

Agave tequilana is more commonly known for producing tequila, but the trials will determine if it is economically viable to grow the plant in Childers to produce ethanol, to be used as a biofuel.

Ausagave managing director Don Chambers said trials would occur in cane growing areas and the Childers farmers had expressed an interest.

“We are really just trailing in different areas and looking at how they grow,” Mr Chambers said.

“We have had offers from growers in Childers and are looking at Bundaberg.”

Central Queensland University researcher Associate Professor Nanjappa Ashwath said the reason cane- growing areas had been chosen was because of similar infrastructure requirements.

“Sugar cane mills only work six months of the year and the tequila can take over the other six months,” Assoc Prof Ashwath said.

“It is very easy to grow, does not produce any seeds, is very hardy and will use very similar infrastructure to sugar, so why not let it fill the gap?”

The researchers know it is possible to derive ethanol from agave tequilana.

“We need to prove it can grow here, how much land you will need, the yield it produces and what kind of fertilisers are needed,” he said.

“Once we do all those things and we find it is going well, we need to find out how we can harvest and the most economical way of harvesting.”

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