19 December 2023, AU: The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced the recipients of grants to be invested in grains research, development and extension (RD&E) infrastructure in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
The grants are part of a $20 million investment program to build Australia’s long-term grains research capacity and support the enduring profitability of the nation’s grain growers.
GRDC Board chair and grain grower John Woods says that the program reflected GRDC’s priority of putting growers’ money towards investments that will make a genuine difference.
“Our investments must make an impact, and building Australia’s research capacity is critical for the future of the grains industry for generations to come,” Mr Woods says.
“We have some of the best researchers and technicians in the world working in Australia and to continue to attract and retain these quality specialists we need to have the best infrastructure and equipment.
“GRDC is investing in infrastructure in regional areas to support RD&E undertaken in local labs and facilities, and equipment and buildings to support on-farm research and extension through grower groups and other partners.”
Spanning analytical equipment and plant growth facilities at universities through to machinery and drones for grower groups, the grants are all geared to support innovation for grain growers.
The Hart Field-Site Group has received a grant to construct a storage shed and outdoor working area, improve existing facilities, and purchase new equipment for processing grain samples. The investment will enhance the group’s RD&E activities at the Hart Field-Site in South Australia.
In Victoria, the University of Melbourne will receive a grant to improve plant growth facilities on its Parkville and Dookie Campuses, and field facilities and analyses equipment at Dookie Campus.
GRDC Southern Panel member Dr Kathy Ophel-Keller and former research director of crop sciences at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) says the grants were key to making sure state-of-the art research infrastructure was maintained and continually upgraded.
“Infrastructure such as labs and glasshouses as well as field equipment is central to scientists conducting research, and is particularly critical for regionally based researchers,” Dr Ophel-Keller says.
“In this way, GRDC is facilitating innovation of value to Australia’s grain growers.
“GRDC’s core purpose is to invest in research, development and extension for the grains industry predominantly using contributions from the Australian Government and levies paid by grain growers.
“This infrastructure investment across Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia underpins research capability and is an important investment in the future of grains research in these states.”
Nine partners have received 10 grants across the southern region:
- University of Adelaide: Upgrades to advanced analytical equipment and establishment of a trial site for genetically modified crops (Adelaide, SA).
- South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) of the Department Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA):
- LED lighting in the Plant Research Centre (Adelaide, SA), and
- Farm machinery including tool carrier and boom spray (Clare, SA).
- Birchip Cropping Group: New field research equipment including plot seeder, soil sampler, weather stations and drones, and lab cool room and equipment (Birchip, Victoria).
- University of Melbourne: Upgraded plant growth facilities, improved field facilities and analyses equipment (Parkville and Dookie, Victoria).
- Southern Farming Systems: Harvester (Longford, Tasmania), and a new laboratory facility and equipment for grains testing (Inverleigh, Victoria).
- Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Victoria: Shed, mobile heater trolleys and irrigation at the Free Air Temperature Extreme (FATE) facility (Horsham, Victoria).
- Hart Field-Site Group: Storage shed and infrastructure to facilitate on-site extension and research activities (Hart, SA).
- Trengove Consulting: Grain quality laboratory, drying ovens and seed cleaning equipment (Bute, SA).
- AgXtra: Agricultural drone and spray unit to optimise field trial outcomes (SA).
The infrastructure will be received and installed over the next 12 months to build fundamental and long-term research capacity that will support innovation for Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian grain growers.
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