Western Australia’s dynamic grains industry is set to benefit from a $48 million scientific research partnership between the McGowan Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
The McGowan Government is backing a major new research program to unlock the potential of WA’s grainbelt soils and exploratory projects to boost oat, canola, lupin and pulse production and value for WA growers.
The McGowan Government has committed more than $25 million over five years for the WA-based projects led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s research arm.
The funding commitment includes $22 million to overcome soil constraints and develop transformational soil technologies.
A further $3 million will help examine new opportunities for the WA grains industry, including a fresh approach to matching genetics for early sowing opportunities for oats, canola and lupins in key environments.
The six projects include:
- Re-engineering soils to improve water and nutrient flow to crops;
- Increasing farming system profitability and the longevity of benefits following soil amelioration;
- Increased grower profitability on soils with sodicity or transient salinity in the eastern grainbelt;
- Optimising yield and expanding the area of high-value pulses – lentil, faba bean and chickpea – in Western Australia;
- Evaluating milling oat varieties and optimising profitability from early-sown oats; and
- Expanding the sowing window for canola and lupins.
Western Australia’s grains industry is estimated to have injected $7 billion into the WA economy this season, by far the State’s biggest agricultural export and underpinning many rural and regional communities.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“The McGowan Government has worked hard to establish this partnership with the GRDC to support WA-based research, which will enable our growers to make the most of technological advancements and remain globally competitive.
“This agreement is a starting point in securing a better deal for WA, and we look forward to further investment in the future.
“Scientific research is key to helping our growers change and adapt to produce better crops, increase productivity and export competitiveness, and in turn support our regional economies and communities.
“This industry is hungry for technology to address Western Australia’s unique conditions and market challenges while striving for record growth like this season’s impressive 17.9 million tonne harvest – our second biggest crop ever.
“The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring DPIRD maintains its core scientific skills and expertise across grain production, sustainability and biosecurity.
“DPIRD scientists, many operating from regional locations from Geraldton to Esperance, are working alongside university researchers, grower groups and farm consultants to link innovation from the laboratory to the paddock to the market.
“By uniting this effort, WA researchers can attract more Commonwealth and industry investment to the ultimate benefit of our industries.
“We look forward to further investment in partnership with GRDC on research opportunities that address Western Australia’s grains industry priorities and make a difference for our growers and the national economy.”