From hyper-yielding grains to frost: investment plan has it covered

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 02 Oct 2014

Keith Pengilley in a field

Hyper-yielding feed grain cereals, grain defects in barley, weed seed control, herbicide resistance, nitrogen management, soil constraints and frost management – these are among the many southern cropping region issues set be addressed through a suite of new projects to be funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Through its 2015-16 External Investment Plan, the GRDC is seeking research partners to undertake a range of programs aimed at providing growers with the technologies and practices they require for their businesses to remain profitable.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says proposed projects are designed to address on-farm constraints which impact on productivity, input costs and margins and to also capture arising market opportunities.

“The 2015-16 External Investment Plan will address identified gaps in research, development and extension, and it will complement the GRDC’s previous and existing investments in RD&E,” Mr Pengilley said.

He said some of the projects listed in the investment plan were specific to the southern cropping region (Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and central and southern New South Wales) while others were more broad but had relevance and application to southern cropping systems.

The areas being targeted in the External Investment Plan have been identified as priorities through an extensive consultation process in which the Southern Regional Panel has played an important role.

“The Panel has consulted extensively with growers, advisers and researchers through our Regional Cropping Solutions Networks, as well as through other linkages with various industry stakeholders. Meetings, regional visits, Panel tours and reviews of research activities and outcomes have also helped us to identify gaps in RD&E,” Mr Pengilley said.

Projects specific to the southern cropping region include:

  • A hyper-yielding feed grain pilot program for Tasmania to supply the State’s growing dairy industry
  • Harvest weed seed control
  • Nutrition in medium to high-yielding irrigated systems
  • Managing legume and fertiliser nitrogen
  • Southern region agribusiness trial extension networks.

Other projects which will have relevance to the southern cropping region include:

  • Increasing the competitiveness of oats for export
  • Improving on-farm grain storage management practices through technical training and extension
  • Barley grain defects
  • Spatial temperature measurement and mapping tools to assist growers, advisers and extension specialists manage frost risk at a farm scale
  • Tools for measuring seedbanks
  • Chemical management options for herbicide resistant weeds and integration of residual herbicides into integrated weed management practices
  • New uses for existing chemistry
  • Management of invertebrate pests on farms
  • Emerging foliar diseases of canola
  • Stubble and weed borne pathogens in winter cereals and pulses
  • A nutrient initiative, looking at a range of issues including nutrient performance indicators, organic matter and nutrient availability, regional tillage practices, and tools for rapid, real time measurement of nutrients
  • Economic analysis of the use of fodder and fodder crops in medium and high rainfall zones
  • Viable crop and/or pasture legumes for alkaline soils in the high rainfall zone
  • A soil constraints initiative looking at a range of issues such as the management of non-wetting soils, management of sodic and magnesic soils, and innovative approaches to managing subsoil acidity
  • Impacts of climate on low rainfall and marginal areas.

The overall External Investment Plan, which builds on the GRDC Strategic R&D Plan 2012-17, addresses productivity growth, supply chain and markets, natural resource management, biosecurity, climate variability, as well as innovative skills and technology development and adoption so as to increase farm profitability and sustainability.

Tenders close at midnight (AEDST) on Thursday, October 23, 2014. More information about the Investment Plan is available via


For Interviews

Keith Pengilley, GRDC Southern Panel

Phone 0448 015539


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli

Phone 0409 675100

Region South, North