One of Australia’s leading research investors, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced it will invest more than a billion dollars over the next five years in research, development, and extension (RD&E) for the nation’s grains industry.
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, officially launched GRDC’s RD&E Plan 2023-28 at the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne today.
Minister Watt says GRDC’s plan had been informed by extensive consultation with grains industry stakeholders and considered the needs and priorities of those set to benefit from ongoing RD&E investment.
“I am really pleased to officially launch this plan for GRDC. It is comprehensive and clear in its intent to challenge the status quo and stretch GRDC and the industry over the next five years to maximise the impact of research investments,” he says.
“This plan will help ensure Australian grain growers and the broader grains industry is strong, profitable and sustainable now and into the future.”
GRDC Board chair and Goondiwindi grain grower John Woods says the new plan had been informed by hundreds of conversations with growers, advisers, researchers, and grains industry stakeholders and the result was the organisation’s most ambitious approach to RD&E investment yet.
“According to the latest ABARES figures the grains industry is now the largest single sector of Australian agriculture, with the 2021/22 harvest exceeding $28 billion in value,” Mr Woods says.
“An independent, international benchmarking study comparing 30 years of data showed that despite Australia’s public investment in grains RD&E being lower than the USA, India, Brazil and Canada, our grain growers had much higher total factor productivity (TFP)*.
“The researchers found Australian wheat TFP grew by an average of 2.75 per cent per year over the 30-year period of GRDC investments. In comparison Argentina, the next-best performing country, experienced average annual wheat TFP growth of 0.98 per cent per year.
“This is why GRDC is important for Australian grain growers, not only are we the major investors in critical RD&E domestically, we are also the front door for overseas investors. Our new five-year RD&E Plan is critical because it has been informed by growers and industry and it positions how and where GRDC will invest to really deliver for our sector going forward.
“We are investing in areas we have never done before and investing in ways we have never done before through industry initiatives such as Grains Australia and the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).”
GRDC Managing Director Nigel Hart says the new plan would build on 30 years of RD&E investments with trusted and new research partners to deliver RD&E that improves the profitability and sustainability of Australian grain growers.
“At any time GRDC manages more than 500 RD&E projects ranging in scope from multi-million-dollar national projects with university research partners and other Research Development Corporation, to small projects with farming systems groups designed to deliver against regional needs,” Mr Hart says.
“We understand that research is a long game. There is a time-lag between discovery and adoption, so foresight is needed to ensure we have a portfolio of investments that delivers impact for the problems of today and tomorrow.”
Over the life of the plan, GRDC will invest more than a billion dollars in grains RD&E investment in Australia. Through these investments, GRDC will seek to:
- Harness existing potential by helping growers to hit yield and profit targets across every paddock, every season.
- Reach new frontiers to deliver step changes in the productivity of crops beyond what we thought possible.
- Grow markets and capture value to ensure growers have access to a diversity of markets and get more for the crop.
- Thrive for future generations to ensure Australia’s grains industry remains a global leader in sustainability, for people, the planet and our long-term ability to farm.
Strategically, the plan looks ahead to 2040, anticipating substantial changes in global crop mix and demand, the potential game-changing opportunities presented by new technologies, the need for action on increasing seasonal variability and production risk and changing consumer and investor demands.
Visit the 2023-28 RD&E Plan website for more information.
*Rather than measuring simple yield tonnage or value, TFP compares total gross output with total land, labour, capital and material inputs. A growing TFP indicates total output is growing faster than total inputs.