New research by Victorian Government scientists will accelerate productivity growth in the grains industry by helping to develop superior varieties and management practices best suited to local conditions.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the Coalition Government had committed $10.6 million over four years in this year's State Budget on research to boost the productivity and profitability of Victorian grain growers.
"As a result of this funding commitment, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will undertake new research, development and an extension to significantly enhance the productivity of the grains sector," Mr Walsh said.
"Our researchers will develop new grains germplasm to underpin the breeding of varieties better suited to local conditions, superior agronomic packages for cereals, oilseeds and pulses and new soil management options for local production systems.
"DPI research to improve soil resilience will deliver tools to help make soils more conducive to sustainable productivity growth.
"DPI will also focus research on production in high rainfall zones and develop new extension, training and network programs to build the capacity of growers across the state."
The new research targeting productivity in the grains sector is a key element in the Growing Food and Fibre initiative – the Coalition Government's $61.4 million commitment to agriculture.
"The grains sector has a bright future thanks to increasing demand from domestic and international markets, but in recent years its productivity growth has declined to around one per cent a year, down from the long-term trend of 2.2 per cent," Mr Walsh said.
"We need to reverse this decline in productivity growth to ensure growers remain competitive to capitalise on the opportunities presented by unprecedented global demand for grain."
Mr Walsh said most of the research would be undertaken by DPI researchers at Horsham. Part of the funding will also be used to help establish the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham which will bring together tropical and temperate climate cereal, grain legume and oil seed collections currently held in multiple facilities around Australia.
"Access to the world's collections of germplasm and crop varieties that can be included in breeding programs in Australia and a strong commitment to research are vital to the long term prosperity of our grains sector," Mr Walsh said.