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GRDC infrastructure investments to build research capacity across southern Australia

Dr Corinne Celestina, University of Melbourne, with the sign acknowledging GRDC investment to purchase the centre-pivot irrigator in the paddock behind, which will allow researchers to guarantee establishment time and manipulate drought environment and disease incidence in grains research.
Photo: University of Melbourne

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced the recipients of grants to be invested in grains research, development and extension (RD&E) infrastructure in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

The grants are part of a $20 million investment program to build Australia’s long-term grains research capacity and support the enduring profitability of the nation’s grain growers.

GRDC Board chair and grain grower John Woods says that the program reflected GRDC’s priority of putting growers’ money towards investments that will make a genuine difference.

“Our investments must make an impact, and building Australia’s research capacity is critical for the future of the grains industry for generations to come,” Mr Woods says.

“We have some of the best researchers and technicians in the world working in Australia and to continue to attract and retain these quality specialists we need to have the best infrastructure and equipment.

“GRDC is investing in infrastructure in regional areas to support RD&E undertaken in local labs and facilities, and equipment and buildings to support on-farm research and extension through grower groups and other partners.”

Spanning analytical equipment and plant growth facilities at universities through to machinery and drones for grower groups, the grants are all geared to support innovation for grain growers.

Image of Free Air Temperature Extreme (FATE)

GRDC investment will support a shed, mobile heater trolleys and irrigation at the Free Air Temperature Extreme (FATE) facility in Horsham, Victoria, to support heat, frost, drought and climate change adaptation research. Photo: Agriculture Victoria

The Hart Field-Site Group has received a grant to construct a storage shed and outdoor working area, improve existing facilities, and purchase new equipment for processing grain samples. The investment will enhance the group’s RD&E activities at the Hart Field-Site in South Australia.

In Victoria, the University of Melbourne will receive a grant to improve plant growth facilities on its Parkville and Dookie Campuses, and field facilities and analyses equipment at Dookie Campus.

GRDC Southern Panel member Dr Kathy Ophel-Keller and former research director of crop sciences at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) says the grants were key to making sure state-of-the art research infrastructure was maintained and continually upgraded.

“Infrastructure such as labs and glasshouses as well as field equipment is central to scientists conducting research, and is particularly critical for regionally based researchers,” Dr Ophel-Keller says.

“In this way, GRDC is facilitating innovation of value to Australia’s grain growers.

“GRDC’s core purpose is to invest in research, development and extension for the grains industry predominantly using contributions from the Australian Government and levies paid by grain growers.

“This infrastructure investment across Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia underpins research capability and is an important investment in the future of grains research in these states.”

Nine partners have received 10 grants across the southern region:

The infrastructure will be received and installed over the next 12 months to build fundamental and long-term research capacity that will support innovation for Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian grain growers.

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