The move comes following an agreement between the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
Research a priority
“GRDC and DEPI will work together over the next five years on grains research and development, and focus on building a skilled workforce and providing grain growers with on-the-ground research that will help them in the future,” Joyce said.
“Research is a priority for me—we know there is a strong link between R&D and agricultural productivity growth, and recognise research is a key driver to industry and farmgate profitability. This agreement heralds cooperation that will ensure maximum returns from the A$60m [US$56m] in investments made by the two organisations.”
The grains industry is one of Australia’s most important agricultural sectors, with wheat exports in worth around A$6.7bn (US$6.2bn) last year, while canola exports and barley exports were worth a combined A$3.6bn ($US3.4bn).
“It’s not just Victoria that will benefit from this partnership. The whole Australian grains industry will also reap the benefits,” Joyce added.
Most valuable export
Peter Walsh, the Victorian minister for agriculture and food security, said the state’s government was committed to working with industry and co-funding strategic research that would accelerate productivity growth in the grains sector and boost the profitability of growers.
“At A$2.2bn [US$2bn], the grains industry was Victoria’s most valuable agricultural export earner for 2012-13, but there is capacity to grow value and volume if we are smart about strategic investment in productivity-focused R&D,” Walsh said.
The Victorian coalition government has set a target of doubling agricultural production across the state by 2030, which Wash said would be achievable through targeted R&D.
The research will look at improving pulse quality, pre-breeding and agronomy, crop pathology and biosecurity, improved cropping systems for high rainfall zone and climate adaptation, and the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham.
Each year, the GRDC, which is an Australian Government statutory corporation, coordinates and invests a grower levy and Australian government funding in research and development for the benefit of all stakeholders in the grains industry and the community at large.