Upgraded agricultural research, development and innovation facilities in Merredin are set to boost the long-term profitability and sustainability of dryland farming in the Wheatbelt.
The McGowan Government has invested $1.8 million to upgrade the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Merredin site, after it was damaged by a severe storm two years ago, to ensure it has the scientific capacity to remain at the forefront of agricultural research.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan officially opened the renovated facility today, which has also had its roof and ceilings replaced, offices refurbished and landscaping refreshed.
Four laboratories on the site have been rebuilt to modern standards and another two added to accommodate research involving pathology, a controlled environment, soils processing, and plant and grain quality analysis.
The new additions complement the department’s existing infrastructure at Merredin, including 600 hectares for field trials, two glasshouses, a sample processing facility, as well as the Managed Environment Facility and the New Genes for New Environments research assets.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“We have taken the time and opportunity to not only repair but substantially improve the scientific resources at the Merredin facility so it is equipped with the tools and infrastructure required to support advances in dryland research.
“The rebuild includes purpose-built laboratories that feature a new soil preparation and processing area, with additional room for pathology work and a new near infrared machine to enable our grains scientists to improve efficiencies and expand the breadth of their work.
“Merredin has a proud history of more than a century of agricultural research. This investment heralds the next generation of research on climate adapted farming systems, which includes the first substantive field trials to evaluate the benefits of regenerative agriculture.
“The renovation of the site has been worth the wait and these new, high-quality facilities will support the continued growth and prosperity of the region.”