Northern grains research is set to receive a major boost this year with the announcement of additional funding for 17 new grain researchers and technical officers. Over the next five years, new resources will be channelled into the northern industry through new research nodes and the employment of more grains research agronomists, researchers and technical officers.
This increase in capacity and capability is a result of a collaborative effort between the GRDC, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), the University of Queensland and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
“The extra researchers and technical officers employed in the north will ensure that future grains research is comprehensive, practical, well-resourced and delivers meaningful solutions to growers’ production challenges,” says James Clark, chair of the GRDC’s Northern Panel.
New northern region projects will run over five years, with almost $10 million invested by the GRDC and the remainder from CSIRO, Queensland DAF and the NSW DPI.
The largest of the three projects will see the appointment of 11 additional grains researchers in Queensland in areas such as crop and cereal pathology and agronomy, farming systems, weed sciences and pulse entomology. The GRDC is contributing $4.96 million to fund the positions.
A further $5 million is being invested by the GRDC into two northern farming systems projects, including a CSIRO-run trial on the Darling Downs investigating a range of possible crop rotations and cropping intensities. These projects will be complemented by trials at additional regional sites in Emerald, Goondiwindi or Billa Billa, Narrabri, Trangie and the Liverpool Plains.
“This type of investment is critical if the northern grains industry is to combat some of its pressing challenges in weeds, nutrition, crop performance, farming systems management and resource utilisation,” Mr Clark says. “In some cases these challenges are having a serious impact on farm profitability.”
Improved R&D capacity was identified as a key priority by the region’s levy payers for inclusion in the industry strategic plan, and has long been championed by the GRDC as critical to the future of the northern grains industry.
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