||Relevant GRDC Investments
- 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
- 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
Packages were developed for:
- fungicide use and management approaches for controlling blackleg in
canola, including an Australian blackleg management guide for canola
- MaizeMan, a decision support tool for Australian maize growers
- variety-specific management of pulses.
Protocols were established for the management of chickpea diseases.
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
- 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
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
Develop new alliances and links to market
Improved trade and market access
GRDC activities to foster market alliances included:
Bringing biotechnology to bear on sustainability and consumer benefit
outcomes, to support profitable farming systems and access to premium
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
- Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) was successfully developed for
- 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.
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 Cairo,
which is specifically adapted for northern New South Wales and southern
- 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
Integrated pest management:
- to minimise total cost of pests, diseases and weeds
- to maintain options and control strategies
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
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
- 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.
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
- 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
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.
Varieties displaying this symbol beside them are protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994.