Australian Government - Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Annual Report 2004-05.  Meeting stakeholder needs through cooperative innovation
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Appendix 1 - GRDC achievements against stakeholder priorities, 2004-05

Priorities Relevant GRDC Investments

Industry 1

  • farming systems and rotations to protect and enhance the soil and water resource base
  • genetic improvement for sustainability

An environmentally sustainable Australia

Sustainable natural resource management

GRDC projects with a particular emphasis on sustainability included the following:

  • There was further study of the use of precision agriculture to better match chemical inputs, such as fertiliser, to spatial variability in potential yield and profitability in individual paddocks or across the whole farm. This allows growers to vary inputs in order to reduce costs and to protect the environment.
  • A Soil Biology Initiative in South Australia, investigated disease suppression through practice change and minimal soil disturbance rather than through the use of chemical fungicides. The increase in disease suppression through practice change has provided complete control of the soil-borne diseases rhizoctonia and take-all in some trials.
  • A project sought to identify ways that growers can adapt to and better manage the constraints posed by sodic - saline subsoils in the northern region.

Packages were developed for:

  • fungicide use and management approaches for controlling blackleg in canola, including an Australian blackleg management guide for canola growers
  • MaizeMan, a decision support tool for Australian maize growers
  • variety-specific management of pulses.

Protocols were established for the management of chickpea diseases.

Industry 2
New and innovative product development:

  • identify premium markets to enhance grower returns
  • ensure flow of market signals

Improving competitiveness through a whole-of-industry approach

Promoting and maintaining good health

Maintaining and improving confidence in the integrity of Australian agricultural food, fish and forestry products

GRDC projects to improve the industry's competitiveness in new markets included:

  • studies of new pulse products, such as lupin concentrates for the aquaculture feeds sector
  • a pulse ingredient initiative designed to increase the use of pulses in value-added products for export
  • research to identify, through biotransformation, new crops, markets or products that would enable growers to switch from existing markets to new, potentially higher value grain product markets
  • an aeration and cooling extension program, targeted at growers and smaller grain merchants, to educate growers in the practice of using aeration and cooling to manage grain quality and control insects in stored grain.

The GRDC continued to support the Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence.

A food safety risk assessment was conducted for the Australian grains industry. The study included the naturally occurring toxin deoxynivalenol, which is formed in wheat by a number of species of Fusariumand some other fungi that cause head blight.

Other GRDC activities related to food safety included:

  • assessment of strategies for the management of mycotoxins in maize
  • the Go Grains nutrition and education program
  • research into the quality management of barley in storage

Industry 3
Develop new alliances and links to market

Improved trade and market access

GRDC activities to foster market alliances included:

Industry 4
Bringing biotechnology to bear on sustainability and consumer benefit outcomes, to support profitable farming systems and access to premium markets

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

Use of frontier technologies

GRDC support for the exploration of frontier technologies achieved practical results. For example:

  • molecular markers for resistance to anthracnose and phomopsis were discovered and their use in the narrow-leaf lupin-breeding program in Western Australia commenced
  • molecular research at Murdoch University in Western Australia demonstrated genetic pathways involved in the ability of some plants to detoxify herbicides
  • Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) was successfully developed for sorghum
  • resistance gene-specific markers and quantitative markers of phosphine resistance in stored-grain pests were validated.

In collaboration with livestock R&D corporations, through the Premium Grains for Livestock Program, the GRDC also supported the development of objective grain quality-testing technologies for feed grains, such as an on-farm, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) moisture meter.

Industry 5
Genetic improvement and regional adaptation of new grain varieties:

  • improved resistance to biotic and abiotic stress
  • quality standards for specific end uses

The GRDC's strategic investments in breeding wheat, barley, oats and triticale are yielding new varieties with enhanced performance.

This year also saw the release of:

  • the new faba bean variety CairoProtected by Plant Breeder's Rights, which is specifically adapted for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland
  • two soybean varieties with large seed, superior tofu-making potential and higher yield
  • one albus lupin variety with improved pleiochaeta root rot resistance, and one narrow-leaf lupin with increased anthracnose resistance and herbicide tolerance.

Industry 6
Integrated pest management:

  • to minimise total cost of pests, diseases and weeds
  • to maintain options and control strategies

Safeguarding Australia

Protecting Australia from invasive diseases and pests

A GRDC-supported project aimed at reducing the impact of diseases of pulse crops in Queensland resulted in the publication of a reference for growers: Chickpea Disorders - the Ute Guide.

A GRDC-supported project to develop alternative grain fumigants led to the development of a mixture of ethyl formate and carbon dioxide known as Vapormate™, packaged in cylinders, which was recently registered in Australia. Ethyl formate is a naturally occurring compound found in a wide range of fruit, vegetables, cheese and grain products and will eventually be available for use by growers as a fumigant for on-farm grain storage.

Other GRDC projects on dealing with pests included:

  • research identifying the management of weeds, stubble, rotations and soil nitrogen as the key to managing crown rot
  • the evaluation and development of biocontrol options for organisms that cause annual ryegrass toxicity
  • a study of the population dynamics of the silverleaf whitefly - an emerging pest of grain legumes, sunflowers and peanuts in the northern region - in order to generate area-wide management strategies in central Queensland cropping systems
  • a program to determine what threat wheat streak mosaic virus poses to Australian wheat growers and under what conditions it may be expected to occur
  • the improvement of an existing weed risk assessment system for screening plant imports into Australia. The system was enhanced by translating its score-based outcomes into quantitative probabilities of weediness. This enhancement will enable a more quantitative approach to quarantine decision making, and is applicable to risk assessment for either insect pest or weed incursions.

Industry 7
Effective and targeted transfer and adoption of technology and knowledge for Australian growers

Creating an innovative culture

A range of GRDC publications and services continue to be the key avenues for disseminating information that encourages the grains industry to accept R&D to build industry capacity.

Innovations this financial year included:

  • presentations by international speakers at the February 2005 Grains Research Updates, which transferred knowledge of overseas industry practices
  • the transfer of a number of Grains Research Updates (including all papers, interviews and presentations) onto a CD which was mailed to update attendees
  • the transfer of Harvest Radio programs onto CDs, for distribution to growers through Ground Cover under the Driving Agronomy strategy. The aim is to provide growers with a series of audio CDs full of agronomic advice that they can listen to while driving in the car or the tractor.

Other activities included:

  • assisting state agencies in the marketing and distribution of advice sheets, bulletins and industry guidelines
  • publishing the 2005 Guidelines for Spray Application
  • publishing Agribusiness Crop Updates
  • hosting Grains Research Updates for advisers
  • producing newsletters for regional advisers
  • supporting a number of grains industry research scholarships for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate scholarships
  • developing accredited courses on chickpeas and mung beans for growers and advisers.
Industry 8
Independent variety evaluation

The GRDC-supported work to develop the National Variety Trials (NVT) was completed, and NVT began to be implemented for the pre- and post-release evaluation of potential new crop varieties.

The GRDC also maintained its leading role in coordinating wheat quality research, by supporting the GRDC Wheat Quality Research Forum which was held in Melbourne in June this year as part of the larger 2005 AWB - GRDC Wheat Industry Forum.

'Industry' priorities are the eight grains industry priorities identified through consultation.
'NRP' priorities are the Australian Government's four National Research Priorities.
'RRDP' priorities are the seven Ministerial Priorities for Rural R&D Corporations and Companies.

Plant Breeder Rights icon Varieties displaying this symbol beside them are protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994.

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© Grains Research and Development Corporation 2005