$10.8m grains research ‘shot in the arm’ for NSW growers
Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 25 Sep 2014
New South Wales grain growers will be the major beneficiaries of an injection of $10.8 million into the State’s grains research and development sector.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has entered into an historic joint initiative with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to create 18 new research officer positions in key cropping locations.
The GRDC is committing $5.2 million to the initiative which will support growers in their efforts to boost productivity and profitability.
GRDC Managing Director John Harvey says the announcement represents a massive boost to the State’s grains industry and in particular grain growers.
“The partnership with NSW DPI to jointly fund these positions is one of the most significant developments to have occurred in the State’s grains sector in terms of research and development,” Mr Harvey said.
“R&D is the key to generating growth in the grains industry, and this joint venture will go a long way to ensuring that NSW growers are given every opportunity to make advances on-farm.
“The GRDC, on behalf of growers and the Australian Government, already invests tens of millions of dollars each year into national and state-based R&D to benefit NSW growers. This initiative to fund 18 research officers across the State will complement and enhance existing investments and will give growers and even greater leg-up.”
GRDC’s Southern and Northern Regional Panels, which between them assist in identification of cropping issues across NSW and appropriate R&D responses, had both seen additional research capacity in NSW as imperative to support increased productivity through the adoption of new practices and technology.
In consultation with NSW DPI and industry, the Panels have determined priority research areas to be addressed through the new program.
Priority research areas in the north include cereal pathology, pulse genetics and pathology, farming systems, crop and soil nutrition, field crop entomology, crop physiology, and summer crop and oilseed agronomy.
In the south, priority areas include crop nutrition, canola and other crop physiology, weeds, row crop agronomy and farming systems.
Positions are expected to be established in centres such as Trangie, Tamworth and Narrabri in the northern cropping region, and Wagga Wagga and Yanco in the south.
Skills and capacity in the grains industry has been long recognised by the GRDC as an issue impacting on the sector’s ability to progress.
“It is imperative we have people on the ground who have the expertise and knowledge needed to help growers overcome constraints and take steps forward in their farm businesses,” Mr Harvey said.
“The new positions will target current capacity gaps, provide additional support to researchers in critical disciplines and provide succession planning options for researchers nearing the ends of their careers.”
Mr Harvey said researchers recruited through this project would provide important linkages to national and international research programs and would develop research programs to deliver regional research outcomes and drive increased productivity in the grains industry.
The agreement allows for 18 research officer positions on three-year terms to be recruited during the five-year life of the initiative.
NSW DPI will then provide ongoing salaries for up to 14 of these positions – six in the southern grains region and eight in the northern grains region – by the end of the contracts.
The appointment of personnel to fill the required positions will be announced over the coming months.
Caption: Research skills and capacity within the NSW grains industry was an issue to the fore during the GRDC Southern Regional Panel’s recent spring tour. Pictured looking over trial plots at Trangie Agricultural Research Centre in NSW are GRDC Southern Regional Panel members Geoff McLeod (left), of Finley, NSW; Panel chair Keith Pengilley of Conara, Tasmania; NSW DPI officer Greg Brooke (centre); GRDC Program Manager for Plant Health Technologies, Jeevan Khurana; and Panel member Mark Stanley of Port Lincoln, SA.
For more information
Kylie Dunstan, GRDC
02 6166 4500
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli