22 April 2022, Australia: Where should Australian grains research, development and extension (RD&E) focus to help ensure the nation’s growers are profitable now and into the future?
This is the multi-million-dollar question that Australia’s leading research investor, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is now asking industry.
GRDC invests more than $180 million per year on behalf of the nation’s grain growers to drive the discovery, development and delivery of world-class innovation. The aim being to deliver new and improved crop varieties, farming practices, technologies and capabilities that support the enduring profitability of the country’s 22,000-plus grain farming operations.
The organisation is now asking grain growers, advisers, researchers and industry stakeholders to have input into GRDC’s new five-year-plan that will guide investment into RD&E from 2023-28.
This “grain storming” stage will be the first opportunity for growers to contribute their insights and perspective on the drivers, threats and opportunities for the grains industry. Recognising people are busy GRDC will provide multiple opportunities for consultation and feedback between now and February 2023.
To find out more or have your say go to, RDE plan consultation.
GRDC Chair John Woods said it was critical that industry had an opportunity to be involved and engaged in the development of the plan, which would guide targeted and strategic RD&E investment into the future.
“Grain growers manage about four per cent of the Australian continent covering an estimated 22.4 million hectares, and this year growers will contribute more than $20 billion to the national economy, so they play an important part in delivering economic and environmental outcomes on behalf of the broader community,” Mr Woods said.
“GRDC has a long and successful track record of investing in RD&E that drives profitability and improved environmental outcomes for these growers and we are committed to continuing this work.
“It is important we understand growers’ needs and priorities, so research dollars are invested in RD&E that yields results, for this we need industry input, guidance and support during the consultation phase.”
Mr Woods said the current RD&E plan had prioritised investments designed to improve growers’ bottom lines.
“GRDC is looking forward to exploring grower’s insight and appetite for a longer-term focus on transformation research that comes with higher risk, higher reward ratio, he said.
“When we launched the current RD&E plan in 2018, feedback from growers showed they wanted us to achieve more in our portfolio and be less conservative with a clear focus on the future, including more agile and responsive to immediate needs.
“The current RD&E plan continues to deliver impactful research outcomes for industry with gains in varietal development, agronomic, crop protection and the climate challenge space to name a few areas, but there is still more to be done.”
Mr Woods said the next RD&E plan informed by growers, would determine how and where GRDC invested, as well as priorities, partners and risk appetite.
GRDC Managing Director Nigel Hart said the competitive advantage of Australian grain growers hinged on innovation, access to new technologies and a future-focused approach.
“Australian grain growers are recognised globally as innovative, resilient and highly efficient, with proven abilities to adapt. Through this plan we want to deliver ambitious, diverse RD&E that supports and improves their production and profitability,” Mr Hart said.
“This means identifying and maximising the opportunities and looking at a five-year RD&E plan that discovers and deploys new solutions and innovations to set the sector up for 2030 and beyond.
“Realising these opportunities will require new partnerships and collaboration across organisations, disciplines and sectors. The opportunities are significant, but to prioritise investments we must consider the needs of today, whilst anticipating those of the future.”