Research tested

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Five sites are assessing how research outcomes fit together in the day-to-day operations on-farm, at ports and in bulk-handling facilities

GRDC-funded Research though the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is being put to the test by growers and bulk handlers at five sites across Australia.

Plant Biosecurity CRC grains coordinator Dr David Eagling says the impact sites are a partnership with industry to work through implementation issues. Each site has different industry partnerships and a different focus:

  • in central New South Wales, the impact site at the GrainCorp facility in Temora focuses on testing a new paint-based product to control storage pests
  • in southern Australia, research at the Viterra facility at Bowmans, South Australia, includes insect monitoring to complement Plant Biosecurity CRC investments in grain insect ecology
  • in the west, the focus has been at the CBH facilities at the grain port of Kwinana, where the team has been putting low-oxygen/nitrogen technology through its paces
  • in the northern Western Australian grain region, the impact site is a partnership with the Mingenew–Irwin Group (MIG), with various activities located directly on grower’s farms (a particular focus over the past 18 months has been the deployment of aeration technology developed jointly by the GRDC and the Plant Biosecurity CRC)
  • in southern Queensland, the site has been a partnership with GrainCorp with an assessment of sulfuryl fluoride across various locations.

“The Plant Biosecurity CRC is conscious that research needs to be implemented into existing grower and bulk-handler processes and management to be successful,” Dr Eagling says.

“We are working on the best way to do this, as well as looking at the benefits of bringing together multiple research findings that can be integrated in a systems approach, rather than each one in isolation.

“The industry impact sites assess how a range of research outcomes fit together in the day-to-day operations on-farm, at ports and in bulk-handling facilities.”

He says the impact sites provide researchers with a central point for field testing and involve growers and bulk-handlers in deciding what research to test and how to go about evaluating the research findings.

“This allows the researchers, as well as the end users of the research, to see how different strategies or technologies interact with other activities and to identify any barriers to adoption, such as time or cost.”


GrainCorp grain protection manager Robin Reid says the bulk-handler has been involved in trials to assess the impact of phosphine and sulfuryl fluoride when applied at different concentrations and over different fumigation periods as part of the industry impact work.

“If the grains industry is to maintain the use of phosphine, we need to look for alternative products and think carefully about the destination of grain to ensure delivery into markets is below the maximum residue limits,” he says.

“It’s important to support this research, as the industry relies on scientific data for products to be registered and accepted in the marketplace. Without research which responds to challenges facing the industry we would run out of pest-control options.”


Growers involved in the Mingenew–Irwin industry impact site are accessing research tailored to their challenges, such as managing residue and resistance.

MIG executive officer Sheila Charlesworth says the benefits to growers from participating in an impact site are enormous.

“It ensures the end users of research can play a part in how this research is delivered, for maximum impact on-farm. Our growers are experiencing the research outcomes firsthand,” Mrs Charlesworth says. “It has also given our growers access to the Plant Biosecurity CRC’s extensive collaborative network of researchers and organisations around Australia and overseas.

“As a result of this research, we are seeing growers extend power to their storage sites for aeration and show increasing interest in alternative non-chemical pest-control products such as nitrogen.”

More information:

David Eagling

Robin Reid

Sheila Charlesworth

CRC impact: grain industry delivery sites


Search continues for phosphine alternatives


It's all in the seal

GRDC Project Code GRDC Research Code NPB00013 Plant Biosecurity CRC Code 3076

Region National, North, South, West