GRDC Regional Panels
The panel system is a key strength of the GRDC. The panels play an important advisory and strategic role in GRDC investments. The Board makes decisions with the support of the National Panel, informed by the knowledge and experience of regional panels and program teams. The program teams comprise members of the regional panels and the GRDC managers. The panel system helps to ensure that the GRDC’s investments are directed towards the interests of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government and remain closely aligned with its six themes strategies.
Recognising the variations in environment, conditions and issues across Australia the GRDC has three regional panels that cover the northern, southern and western grain growing regions. They are made up of grain growers, agribusiness practitioners, scientists and the GRDC’s executive managers, with provision for other industry experts to participate as appropriate.
- identifies and monitors regional and national grains industry issues that are relevant to the region
- interacts with grower groups, research advisory committees and other interested parties in the region to exchange information
- identifies and develops priorities for RD&E investment and recommends these to the GRDC National Panel
- keeps growers and advisers in the region informed about the GRDC’s strategic direction, investment portfolio and research projects
- assists staff in monitoring the effectiveness of the investment portfolio.
The panels ensure that different market and production realities are considered and reflected in the RD&E investment program. Each region has distinctive features that warrant focused planning and research management in plant breeding, farming systems, soil, grain storage and handling, product development, market opportunities and technology marketing.
The GRDC’s Grower Solutions Groups (GSGs) and Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs) provide information on priority issues to the GRDC’s regional panels. The panels also consider information provided by less formal structures than the networks, such as direct communication with grower groups, government research and extension agencies, private research and extension organisations, and industry organisations.
Northern Region Characteristics
- tropical and subtropical climate;
- high inherent soil fertility;
- yield depends upon conservation of soil moisture from subtropical rainfall;
- substantial enterprise size;
- diversity in crop choice, need for new crops, e.g. pulses;
- premium on high-protein wheats for export and domestic markets;
- high-potential yields; and
- competition with cotton.
Southern Region Characteristics
- temperate climate;
- relatively infertile soils;
- yield depends upon reliable spring rainfall;
- smaller enterprise size;
- diverse production patterns and opportunities;
- large and diverse domestic market;
- phase farming innovator; and
- shift in intensive livestock production and demand for feed grains to this region.
Western Region Characteristics
- Mediterranean climate;
- low soil fertility;
- yield depends upon good winter rains as spring rainfall is generally unreliable;
- large enterprise size;
- narrower range of crop options;
- export market dominant, domestic market smaller;
- leader in grain storage practice; and
- transport advantage to SE Asia.