Grains research enters a new era

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 04 Aug 2015

Image of James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has begun delivering on its pledge to secure the future viability of grain production in Queensland and New South Wales.

A major new farming systems research project to address some of the northern cropping belt’s most challenging production issues is now `off the ground’ with trials planted, new research agronomists employed and data collection underway.

The project has the potential to transform northern growers’ approach to farming through improved integrated management of weeds, disease, pests, crop agronomy and water use efficiency.

With research suggesting that the majority of current farming systems are dramatically underachieving on water use efficiency, the GRDC is co-funding the innovative new project aimed at better understanding how northern farming systems can be improved to boost productivity and profitability.

It is a key part of the significant new $14 million investment in northern research announced earlier this year, by the GRDC in collaboration with the CSIRO, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

GRDC northern panel chair James Clark said the GRDC’s investment in the farming systems project was a direct response to industry feedback on the need for integrated solutions to agronomic constraints that are hindering productivity and profitability.

“This is a tremendous boost for grain research across the entire northern region and is a direct response to calls from levy payers for practical answers to management challenges in the paddock. We recognise that this type of research is essential to keeping growers in business,” Mr Clark said.

“There are big expectations around the project and the value it will deliver to growers in terms of crop productivity and the efficiency of the entire farming system and it won’t be long before we start seeing some early results.”

The projects comprise a central CSIRO-run trial on the Darling Downs representing a range of possible crop rotations and cropping intensities which will be complemented by additional regional trial sites at Emerald, Billa Billa, Mungindi, Narrabri, Trangie and Spring Ridge.

Resourcing has been stepped up as part of the project with additional technical officers now operating out of Toowoomba, Emerald and Goondiwindi.

The boosted research capacity and cross partnering with the region’s key research providers will maximise the scope, data set and validity of trials according to Mr Clark.

“A progressive and extended research capacity is critical if we are to raise the bar in production and best management practice and secure the future of our northern grains industry,” he said.

“Effective industry partnerships are an ideal way to drive meaningful research and extension programs that enhance industry understanding and management of the farming system and that’s precisely what this new project is doing.”

The farming systems project will be discussed at this week’s GRDC Grains Research Updates at Jondaryan today (August 4), Roma on August 5 and Nindigully on August 6.

To RSVP/register for the GRDC Grains Research Updates contact Updates coordinator John Cameron or Erica McKay via email, phone 02 9482 4930 or visit the GRDC Grains Research Update pages for Jondaryan, Roma and Nindigully.

Caption: GRDC northern panel chair James Clark.


Contact Details

For Interviews

James Clark, GRDC Northern Panel Chair
0427 545 212


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code CSA00050, DAQ00192

Region North