Sorghum is the largest summer grain crop in Australia and the fourth largest crop overall by tonnage and value and an important part of farming systems especially in Northern NSW and Queensland. Investment in sorghum genetic improvement “pre-breeding” is an important area for the GRDC and several Key Investment Targets (KITs) in the GRDC’s ‘Research, Development and Extension Plan 2018-2023” are directed at sorghum priority areas.
KIT 1.3 “Change fundamental plant architecture, physiology and/or biochemistry to maximise water-limited yield potential in wheat, barley, canola and sorghum” is one of the priority KITs that identifies opportunities for genetic improvement in sorghum. A key constraint to maximizing water limited yield potential in sorghum, identified as part of the development of KIT 1.3, is that the rate of genetic gain is being constrained by the negative relationship between yield and stalk strength. Sorghum breeders can readily breed taller, higher yielding hybrids but this increases the risk of lodging, reducing yield stability and as a result they are not suitable for commercial release. This represents a significant brake on the rate of genetic gain for yield in Sorghum.
The GRDC under this EOI is seeking co-investment partners to develop innovative genetic solution(s) to break the relationship between lodging, height and yield to assist commercial sorghum breeders to increase the rate of genetic gain for yield and increase the profitability of Australian sorghum growers.
Any investment by the GRDC must be consistent with the crop improvement principles the GRDC applies nationally, across all crops:
• Invest according to GRDC’s Purpose: Invest in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.
• Investments must be aligned with GRDC Strategy and Key Investment Targets.
• Invest in outcomes for growers, not in institutions.
• There must be a path to market for GRDC investment outcomes, acknowledging that for genetic improvement in sorghum, there is significant, established commercial breeding already in place in Australia. The path to market for GRDC pre-breeding investments in major crops such as sorghum is through commercial breeding companies.
• To support the path to market, GRDC pre-breeding investments will focus on trait-based breeding activities and improved breeding technologies that support commercial breeders to increase the rate of genetic gain for on-farm crop performance. It is the job of commercial breeders to deliver the improved varieties to growers.
• It is essential that GRDC does not cause market failure through its investment in RD&E. This means not investing in commercial breeding activities such as developing varieties adapted to specific regions or developing varieties or parent lines ready for direct commercial deployment in crops where there is commercial breeding already in place. It is the role of the commercial breeding companies to use the pre-breeding outputs available to them and deliver those to growers through new varieties.
This EOI process may be the first of a multi-stage procurement process. Decisions on the progression to any subsequent procurement stage will be made after evaluating the proposals to this EOI.
Closing date & time
Wednesday 11th of November 2020, at 12:00 AM ACT local time
Release date: Tuesday 18th of August 2020
Last updated: Friday 4th of September 2020