New dawn in plant breeding: Australian Plant Breeding Academy

Jason Able with students in faba bean crops

Professor Jason Able mentoring current undergraduate students (L-R) Darien Olson (B. Information Technology), Darcy Lapidge (B. Viticulture & Oenology), and Thomas Follett (B. Agricultural Sciences) in the art of faba bean crossing and plant breeding selection decisions.

The University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine is partnering with Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd (AGT) on a new academy to take Australia’s plant breeding into the future.

The Australian Plant Breeding Academy will lead a new era in research and education in Australia. This includes the development of a new research program aligned with priority crops and traits to break new ground in plant breeding.

The partnership will also see the appointment of a Breeding Research Fellow responsible for the Academy’s breeding research portfolio, and the establishment of multiple PhD scholars in plant breeding, the first of which will commence in 2022.

“The partnership brings together a leading institution and the nation’s foremost grain technology company, both of which are committed to driving future innovation and excellence in research and education in Australia’s agricultural sector.”Professor Anton Middelberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Both the University and AGT have a proud and successful history of involvement in commercial plant breeding programs, including bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, canola, lupins, triticale and faba beans. The new Academy will build on this enduring legacy of achievement.

Equally, both organisations are committed to producing the next generation of plant breeders and plant breeding scientists, to secure the industry’s ongoing success.

The academy is believed to be the first of its kind for plant breeding in Australia, and will deliver significant benefits to the industry in the medium to long-term.

Professor Jason Able from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine said:

“The success of the University’s breeding endeavours over the past 60-plus years can be found throughout the Australian agricultural industry today.

“Under the new Academy, we have the opportunity to continue our role in this area, and maintain our very strong connection with industry.”

Professor Anton Middelberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), the University of Adelaide, said: “The University is delighted to continue its long association with plant breeding through this new strategic partnership.

“The partnership brings together a leading institution and the nation’s foremost grain technology company, both of which are committed to driving future innovation and excellence in research and education in Australia’s agricultural sector.”

AGT CEO and Head of Breeding Haydn Kuchel said: “Through its activities in education and breeding research, the Australian Plant Breeding Academy will lift the capability of the agrifood sector across Australia and maximise future profits for growers.”

AGT Head of Science and Business Development Tristan Coram said: “AGT has a long history of engagement in both undergraduate and postgraduate education, and we see the expansion of this effort under the new Academy as crucial for the long-term sustainability of Australian agriculture.”

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