GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts, left, WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston and GRDC chairman Keith Perrett.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is partnering with the Western Australian (WA) Government to co-fund new research, development and extension (RD&E) projects, worth about $25 million, over the next five years.
GRDC chairman Keith Perrett joined the WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston at the Dowerin GWN Machinery Field Days today to make the announcement.
Mr Perrett said the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) would conduct the research into some of the key priority areas facing WA grain growers including break crops, plant disease, soil acidity, pests and spray drift.
“These projects have been developed following close consultation with WA grain growers, through GRDC’s western regional panel and the Regional Cropping Solutions Networks,” Mr Perrett said.
“The research will deliver important information, tools and technology that WA growers need to increase productivity and on-farm profits.”
Mr Perrett said one of the new investments was a five-year, $7 million ‘break crop agronomy’ project aimed at helping WA growers choose and profitably manage the most appropriate break crop for their circumstances.
WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston, left, and GRDC chairman Keith Perrett.
“This project aims to increase the profitability of the State’s growers by 10 per cent by 2018, through increased break crop production and/or increased farming system profitability,” he said.
“It will tackle agronomic issues of break crops and evaluate the results in an economic context, with DAFWA researchers and agribusiness consultants collaborating to help determine the economic impact of break crop decisions on-farm. This economic analysis will outline crop specific benefits as well as system benefits.
“The project will address agronomic issues for all break crops. However, it will initially focus on canola, as a result of the large increase in canola crop plantings over recent seasons.”
GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts said a new, separately funded, project with CSIRO would complement the core break crop project.
“The CSIRO project will focus specifically on canola, aiming to reduce business risks and increase the productivity and profitability of canola through improved knowledge of crop performance attributes,” he said.
From left, DAFWA project manager for grain crop agronomy Ben Curtis, left, DAFWA acting executive director for grains industry Mark Sweetingham, GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts, WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston, GRDC chairman Keith Perrett, GRDC chairman-elect Richard Clark, GRDC board member Kim Halberd and GRDC managing director John Harvey.
“While WA’s grain growing region remains dominated by wheat and barley production, the GRDC is aware that growers are likely to include a break crop in their crop rotations if it is profitable.”
A range of new crop protection projects to get under way this financial year will see WA scientists working with their counterparts in other locations to improve tools for managing major diseases such as crown rot and nematodes and tackle issues like soil acidity, resistance and spray drift.
The development of technological tools for managing insects and disease will also form part of the overall co-investment.
For more information, see the statement provided by the WA Agriculture and Food Minister, Ken Baston.
Jane O’Brien, GRDC communications manager
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