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Millettia Pinnata


Would YOU hug a tree that can…

  •  Produce fuel for your truck AND your plane?
  • Power your generator and diesel machinery WITHOUT the need for complicated processing?
  • What if you could  find a tree that can do all that AND  improve soil fertility and farm yields?
  •  How about if that tree could be grown sustainably on marginal land, tolerate excess salinity and harsh climactic conditions?And imagine if that tree could grow extremely quickly and produce high yields….

Would YOU hug a tree that can do all that, for YOU?

  •  Millettia  pinnata produces high quality oil with many uses; including bio-fuel for power generation  and aviation fuel  (trials currently underway by Boeing), protein rich livestock feed, Nitrogen rich fertiliser, a secondary fuel source to replace coke from coal and an effective natural pest spray. It also has many uses and applications in allied health and has been utilised for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It flowers prolifically providing income from beekeeping.
  • Millettia  pinnata will grow on  marginal/toxic/salinated land; it does not need good arable land and as such does not compete with food crops.
  • Millettia pinnata is a nitrogen fixing legume – improving the soil and improving pasture growth, supporting  higher stocking rates.
  • Millettia pinnata sequesters carbon and is eligible for carbon credits.
  • Millettia pinnata can be grown in a completely sustainable way, without the use of irrigation and 100% chemical free .
  • Millettia pinnata has the potential to provide a viable solution to rising fuel costs.

  Millettia Pinnata- this tree really DOES deserve a hug!

millettia tree


Millettia Pinnata(Pongamia Pinnata) is widely recognised as the superior sustainable biofuel species. It is a logical choice for areas with unpredictable weather extremes as it is hardy across a wide range of conditions. Millettia is a deciduous tree, native to parts of northern Australia, India, Indonesia and Burma.

Well suited to heat and sunlight, it is a drought resistant and nitrogen fixing legume which requires little fertilising and improves soil through it’s ability to take Nitrogen from the air and “fix” it in the  soil.

Its ten metre tap root draws nutrients and water from deep in the subsoil layers and it tolerates light frost, salt and water logging.

It can be grown on marginal land and research demonstrates that when grown on existing crop lands it increases the overall food production of the land. It is an excellent tree to rehabilitate degraded sites such as landfill, exhausted farmland and mining sites.

Millettia produces significantly more oil than other bio fuel species and can be grown successfully in much of Australia where temperatures range from slightly under O degrees Celcius to 50 degrees Celcius and annual rainfall of 250mm to 2500mm.

Using sustainable agroforestry design principles our Millettia biofuel plantations can be viable in extremely harsh climatic conditions. Our systems can be designed to allow inter-row cropping  in the first three years. From then on, increasing numbers of livestock can be grazed in and around the plantation  due to the improvements in soil biology. The multiple by-products of Millettia make plantations an attractive option for farmers.

Once the oil has been extracted from the seeds, the remaining seedcake can be mixed with water and placed in an anaerobic environment to ferment. This produces a flammable gas and a slurry, which is a safe and highly effective organic fertilizer. The gas can be compressed and stored in small tanks for use as cooking fuel. Biogas burns cleaner than traditional cooking fuels such as wood or cow dung and so causes fewer respiratory disorders. Widespread use of gas for cooking could also help curb deforestation common to areas where wood is used as a primary fuel.

The seedcake has other uses as well. The toxic compounds that make Millettia seeds repellent to grazing livestock can be extracted to create a potent natural pesticide. Once these toxins are removed, the seedcake makes a cattle feed rich in amino acids.

Conservative estimates of up to 100kg per tree per year are expected. Biological plant nutrition, coupled with the implementation of  systems which optimise growing conditions can deliver consistently higher yields.


The following economic estimates are from the research conducted by the University of Queensland in conjunction with Bio Energy Plantations Australia.

Economic Estimates:

• Yield levels per hectare will vary due to the environment and management
• Optimal yields of seed per ha per annum are in the 12-15 ton range
• This equates to 5-6 tons of oil per ha per annum (optimal)
• Intermediate yields of seed range from 6-9 tons/ha/annum
• Low yields would range from 0.5 – 4 tons/ha/annum

• Co-products include: seed cake for soil improvement; pod wall for co-firing or charcoal; leaf/branch for animal feed; honey; health products (oils, astringents with many applications); insecticides.

•Millettia in tropical, rain-fed conditions may be harvested by year 4/5
•Millettia in subtropical rain-fed or irrigated in-land is harvested generally from 4-6 years.
•Millettia flowering and seed set occurred in Brisbane area by 15 months from seed.

You can read the full research report on Millettia (Pongamia)  from the University of Qld and Bio Energy Plantations Australia by clicking  on this link .

Broad acre ethanol production has a negative effect on world food prices. Ethanol is not a sustainable or viable solution. Over the long term it may create more problems than it solves. Millettia plantations on the other hand, have the opposite effect:  they regenerate land through building soil and halting erosion, increasing overall crop and stock production.

Amrita Plantations Growing Systems are designed to preserve and regenerate the lanscape and wider environment. The development of sustainable Millettia plantations for bio fuel production,stock feed, fertiliser and medicine is one solution to more sustainable energy production and a more sustainable agricultural sector.

Amrita Plantations can design  intensively managed systems (trees only), or depending on variable factors such as terrain,  land-holder’s requirements with stock, particularly cattle, the system can be modified to more fully realise the potential benefits of Milletta via improved fertility. A sustainable Agroforestry approach such as this, can provide many advantages for landholders and rural communities.

 Please click on this link to  read more about the benefits of Millettia in agroforestry.





Quotable Quotes

"When we develop an agriculture that fits the land, it will become an almost endless vista of green, crop-yielding trees."

J. Russell Smith, "Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture", 1929