By Kay Ansell
A scientist and a machinery manufacturer – both young innovators
working to improve the work of grain growers – have won science
awards sponsored by the GRDC.
McLean (left), of Narrabri, New South Wales, is developing a
brochure to help growers of durum wheat to improve its grading, while
Dale Foster, of Narromine, NSW, has developed a tillage machine for incorporating
They were among 18 winners of the 2003 Science and Innovation Awards
for Young People in Agriculture in September.
Ms McLean is regarded as a world leader in the assessment of durum quality
in the field. She has been investigating non-vitreous kernels (NVK), a
defect that has resulted in the rejection of many shiploads of grain from
domestic and international buyers.
The vitreous (hard) quality of durum wheat is an essential quality trait
for pasta and couscous, so the incidence of mottled, NVK grains has reduced
confidence among both buyers and growers of Australia durum wheat.
She says the use of visual techniques for grading grains at the silo
is subjective and variable. “My research has focussed on the potential
for improving the accuracy of grading by introducing new, objective measurement
The brochure would help growers to learn more about NVK, reduce its incidence
and guide them in choosing the most NVK-resistant cultivars. It would
also inform growers about new technology options available, so that they
can decide where to deliver their grain based on the accuracy of the silo’s
“The industry overall could benefit by improving the consistent
quality of grain received and strengthening Australia’s reputation
as a producer,” she says.
Foster has developed a tillage machine, dubbed the ‘Trash Inverter’
(right) , which is used for undoing compaction, pupae busting
and incorporating stubble in one pass.
Suitable for all crops, and particularly for maize, it leaves furrows
relatively free of trash and creates a rich, earthy seedbed, providing
an excellent start for the next crop, he says.
Mr Foster says the machine helps to reduce disease and improves soil
health and crop yield. It has shown that retaining and incorporating stubble
can be an economical and sustainable process when the appropriate machine
Photo: Dale Foster with his "Trash Inverter".
For more information:
Dale Foster, 0429 649 040, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jodi McLean, 0427 926 301
GRDC PROGRAM 6