Cropping

$3 million for WA crop research hub

Grain Central, August 2, 2017

AUSTRALIAN grain industries will benefit from a $3 million grant to create a new Crop Research Hub in Western Australia, charged with improving grain crop productivity and disease resistance Australia wide.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said Murdoch University had received a $3 million Grains Industry Infrastructure Grant to establish the WA Crop Research Hub under a collaboration between Murdoch University, Curtin University and the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

GRDC chairman John Woods said for the GRDC to deliver on its purpose of investing in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers it was essential for research partners to have the critical capacity they required.

“Our RD&E partners need good infrastructure and the right tools to deliver for the grains industry,” Mr Woods said.

“For the first time GRDC has gone out nationally to support our research partners in creating critical capacity and capability to deliver greater profitability for growers. This is essential to ensure a sustainable grains industry to underpin strong rural communities and a healthy economy.

“This partnership, of two Universities, a State Government Department, the Federal Government and a rural R&D Corporation, is a perfect demonstration of genuine collaboration to address key grower priorities.

“This newly created Grains Research Hub designed to significantly improve the efficiency of crop research in Western Australia would not have been possible without everyone working together.”

Murdoch University’s $3 million grant will be coupled with a co-contribution of $2 million by the project partners.

The grant funding will go towards the development of up to twelve PC1 glasshouses and up to six PC2 glasshouses at Murdoch University.

It will also go towards 2.8 hectares of irrigated, netted field plots and additional infrastructure works.

It also supports the development of a glasshouse containment facility at Curtin University

The Curtin glasshouse will allow separation of pathogen studies from the Murdoch glasshouses, avoiding the risk of transferring disease to other research activities, and will work hand-in-hand with Curtin’s newly opened $46 million facility for disease research requiring higher containment.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at Murdoch, Professor David Morrison, believes the Crop Research Hub enhances Western Australia’s reputation as a global research leader.

“Our research partnership is making a difference on a global scale and this investment provides a platform for even greater achievement,” he said.

Prof. Morrison said the project would draw in specialist research skills from each party to develop new research in crop pathology, plant physiology and genetic improvement.

“The outcomes of the research will be applied to improve crop productivity and resistance to disease and will strength the national grain industry,” he said.

Sources: Deputy Prime Minister, GRDC, Murdoch University

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