$4 Million investment in innovative concepts to support grain growers

Author: | Date: 11 Sep 2018

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has awarded more than $4 million to organisations across Australia to underpin a suite of new projects aimed at delivering innovative technologies to help improve the profitability of the nation’s grain growers.

As part of its Innovation Program 2018, the GRDC will invest in 10 new projects which will tackle constraints such as frost, herbicide resistance and sandy soils.

The projects, which will range in duration from one year to two years, are:

  • Development of a simple and innovative test for real-time detection of herbicide resistance in weeds – University of Western Australia;
  • Applying technology solutions for improved frost detection, diagnostics and precision management decisions – Farmanco Management Consultants;
  • The development of a chemical treatment to protect crops from frost damage – Imtrade Australia;
  • Extending the use of infrared spectroscopy for measurement at a fine scale of selected surface soil properties that are important for farm management decisions for maximising yield potentials – Agronomy Solutions Pty Ltd;
  • An investigation into innovative uses of biosolids in soil amelioration to improve crop productivity – Federation University of Australia;
  • Development of an autonomous platform suited for large-scale grain production systems that uses actuated mechanical and laser weeding for site-specific control – University of Sydney;
  • Mechanical control of hard to kill weeds with minimum soil disturbance – NDF Ag Design Pty Ltd;
  • Development of high work rate ‘plough and sow’ technology for farm-scale sandy soil amelioration – Mallee Sustainable Farming;
  • Expanding access of the Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) technology to combine harvesters with lower power – de Bruin Engineering Pty Ltd;
  • Tailoring an integrated solution to effectively address subsoil constraints by incorporation of chemically-balanced nano-amendments – New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

Dr Steve Thomas, GRDC Deputy Chief Executive Officer, says the program is designed to foster innovation and accelerate the commercial delivery of novel technologies to help improve the profitability of Australian grain growers.

Funding amounts from $40,000 upwards were offered through this year’s program, with priority given to those project proposals that addressed three key areas:

  • Innovative engineering or chemical solutions to managing hostile soils in broadacre grains production;
  • Novel solutions for managing the impact of frost on broadacre grains production;
  • Novel non-chemical solutions to weed management and control in Australian broadacre grains production.

Dr Thomas said the GRDC had not only engaged with its existing grains industry and research partners to raise awareness of the Innovation Program and to promote applications, but it also aimed to make sure that those traditionally not closely involved with agribusiness and farming were aware of the funding opportunity.

“Innovative ideas can come from all types of industry and organisations. This program is about new ways of thinking, so we cast the net widely,” Dr Thomas said.

“We have encouraged people to think about whether they might be able to take something from another industry and apply it in a new way to help mitigate the challenges our growers face.”

This year’s program is being operated as a pilot to test the market’s capacity to engage with and respond meaningfully to this type of initiative, as well as to ensure the application and decision process works effectively.

Contact Details

Sharon Watt, GRDC
0409 675 100