TSI Agave project receives Australian government research funding
April 1, 2021

TSI, along with Adelaide University, were last week delighted to receive news that TSI’s Australian Agave project had been awarded an Australian Government funding grant of $760,300 over 3 years via Australian Research Council’s Linkage Program.

The funding will further enhance TSI’s ongoing research and development in the establishment of agave as a sustainable, versatile and climate-proof Australian crop to support the production of a new high value and quality Australian agave spirit for domestic and global markets. Over the term of the grant TSI’s contribution will be $300,000.

The research, led by Professor Rachel Burton at Adelaide University, has to date resulted in exciting distillation trials conducted by Dr Dervilla McGowan and TSI Master Distiller Sebastian Reaburn at Anther Experimental Distillery in Geelong.

Planned Linkage Grant research includes the development of new cultivation techniques to optimise soil and plant health as well as optimisation of fermentation and distillation from the estate agave. Product character and consistency will be maximised by the integration and control of the production chain, from plant growth, input materials, fermentation and distillation steps to deliver a complete plant to bottle pipeline. The research will also focus on the organoleptic (sensory) properties of TSI’s agave spirituous offerings. In this research Professor Burton will be joined by Adelaide University colleagues Professor Timothy Cavagnaro and Associate Professor Susan Bastian.

Significant progress meanwhile is being made at TSI’s 400-hectare agave farm between Airlie Beach and Bowen in Queensland’s Whitsunday region. This progress includes the more than 190,000 established plants that have benefited enormously from the current wet season and completion of initial block preparation for 2021 plantings that lays the foundation for accelerated planting throughout the year. This work is being carried out by the farm manager, Prospect Agriculture, led by Chris Monsour.

In addition to the onground work the use of technology on the farm is allowing staff to measure health and growth of the plants on a regular basis. This technology includes drone-borne capture of multi spectral images enabling analysis of the health of individual plants and the effectiveness of a number of real time ongoing trails that are being conducted.

About the Linkage Program

The Linkage Program promotes national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry and community organisations. The grants support projects which develop long term strategic research alliances as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.