Key research priorities identified by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) levy payers in the northern region have been recognised with the announcement today of an investment of $14 million into the region’s R&D capability.
The Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and the Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, John McVeigh, confirmed in Toowoomba today that grain growers across Queensland will benefit from three significant new projects, resulting in the employment of 17 new grain researchers and technical officers.
The investments were identified in the northern grains industry strategic plan, actively driven by the GRDC over the past 12 months and developed collaboratively by growers, researchers and government.
The projects will run over five years, with almost $10 million invested by the GRDC and the remainder from CSIRO, the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Chair of the GRDC’s Northern Region Panel, James Clark, said the investments will be critical to succession planning in key areas of the northern region, will significantly boost research capacity and will provide growers with localised farming systems solutions.
“The largest of the three projects will see the GRDC contributing $4.96 million to fund the appointment of 11 additional grain researchers in Queensland to address both succession and capacity issues that challenge the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the northern grains farming systems.
"These new positions will focus on areas including crop and cereal pathology and agronomy, farming systems, weed sciences and pulse entomology,” Mr Clark said.
“This is an extremely exciting project and is the result of extensive analysis we’ve undertaken to ensure we have sufficient R&D capacity across the entire Queensland grains industry to meet short and long term challenges.”
“A further $5 million is being invested by the GRDC into two northern farming systems projects that will conduct trials across the entire northern region in response to growers’ calls to identify farming systems solutions to production issues rather than answers from ‘the can or the bag’,” Mr Clark said.
The two farming systems projects are linked and will comprise a central CSIRO-run trial on the Darling Downs representing a range of possible crop rotations and cropping intensities. This central trial will be complemented by a number of additional regional trial sites in Emerald, Goondiwindi or Billa Billa, Narrabri, Trangie and the Liverpool Plains. The Queensland regional trials will also see the appointment of technical officers in Toowoomba, Emerald and Goondiwindi.
GRDC Chair, Richard Clark, said all three investments are a direct response to areas that were identified as key priorities by GRDC’s northern region levy payers.
“The urgent need for on-going significant investment in research and development is a message that has long been promoted by the GRDC and has now won traction with state governments, resulting in this exciting collaboration."
“This partnership with government and CSIRO is helping to future proof the northern grains industry and will ensure Queensland growers have access to the most relevant tools, information and advice for profitable cropping system performance into the future.”