Global Agriculture

Investing $36M in next gen technology to unlock soil potential

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14 September 2023, AU: An innovative new $36 million partnership between the Grains and Research Development Corporation (GRDC) and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) will explore and assess new technologies designed to help grain growers address common soil constraints.

Announced at Trangie Agricultural Research Station in central western NSW yesterday (September 13) the Unlocking Soil Potential strategic partnership will run for five years and will focus on identifying and developing next generation soil technologies (NGST).

Soil constraints reduce the value of grain production across NSW by an estimated $800 million per year.

In making the announcement, GRDC Northern Panel Chair and grain grower Arthur Gearon says GRDC was committed to investing and working closely with key research partners to improve the grains industry’s production capacity.

“GRDC has a successful history of partnering with NSW DPI and this ongoing positive working relationship is integral to supporting the research, development and extension (RD&E) needs of grain growers,” Mr Gearon says.

“GRDC are pleased to support the innovative Unlocking Soil Potential strategic partnership and welcome the opportunity to explore and assess new technologies.

“This partnership will provide a mechanism to assess the probability of success relatively quickly and focus on accelerating the development and potential commercialisation of the most promising NGSTs.”

NSW DPI acting deputy director general agriculture, Guy McMullen says the project would continue to develop grower’s capacity to invest in soil amelioration to increase their crop production and profitability, rather than purchase more land.

“This investment is expected to develop novel NGSTs along with supporting management strategies that increase profitability and create more climate-resilient grain and sustainable production systems for grain growers,” he says.

“The partnership will build on NSW DPI’s existing resources and international expertise in soil amelioration, so we are well placed to partner with GRDC.

“To do this work we will use our established trial sites, laboratories and infrastructure to evaluate farming system impacts for each new NGST, compared to currently available technologies.”

GRDC sustainable farming systems manager – north, Cristina Martinez says the Unlocking Soil Potential strategic partnership would help underpin new frontiers for grain production in different soil types across NSW and more broadly.

“Growers using effective NGSTs in combination with management strategies will be able to unlock currently unexploited soil potential through elements such as improved utilisation of water and nutrients, creating more sustainable and climate-resilient grain production systems,” she says.

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