DAN00189 - AIRG: National independent quality assurance and germplasm maintenance for Rhizobium inoculants - Continuation
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by soil rhizobia and Australia's pasture and pulse legumes, has a national benefit of close to $4 billion annually. This is based on nitrogen fixation rates of about 110 kg N/ha/year, legume areas of 25 million ha and fertiliser N costed to the farmer at $1.25/kg which equates to $1.55/kg plant-available N in the soil. The price of carbon-based fossil fuels, used in the production of nitrogenous fertilisers, is expected to increase substantially in the future. As this occurs, the value of legume nitrogen fixation to Australian farmers will escalate. There is an ongoing need to ensure that Australian agriculture evolves with a reliance on legumes that are effectively nodulated and that the benefits of nitrogen fixation from legumes for the farming systems are maximised.
Maintaining quality assurance of rhizobial inoculants and other burgeoning microbial products, is essential to ensure that Australian farmers continue to have access to high-quality products.
This project aims to:
- Monitor, assess and report on the quality of all forms of legume inoculants at point-of-sale in accordance to the newly established industry Code of Practice. Review through consultation with M3A members the recommended national standards for legume inoculant use, in terms of shelf life, application rates and handling.
- Develop quality control protocols for non-rhizobial products marketed as microbial-based plant growth enhancers. Survey non-rhizobial inoculants at the point of sale. Participate in the development of an industry code of practice for non-rhizobial inoculants.
- Evaluate the inoculum potential of new and existing carriers used in the production of rhizobial inoculants for grain legumes. Research the type of carrier and their properties to deliver rhizobia at efficacious levels.
- Maintain the NSW DPI collection of Rhizobium and non-Rhizobium inoculant germplasm held at AIRG for current and future release for the production of grain / pasture legume and selective non-legume inoculants used in Australian agriculture.
- Promote the Australian Inoculants Research Group (AIRG) and the inoculant Quality Trademark for quality control of all beneficial microbial inoculants used in Australian agriculture.
- Provide technical advice and leadership to a wide range of stakeholders.