Charles Sturt University (CSU) at Wagga Wagga in southern NSW has received a $2.7 million GRDC Infrastructure Grant, and a co-contribution of $300,000 from the university itself, to boost research into crop productivity and weed science.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) managing director Steve Jefferies said the grant would see world-class glasshouses and phytotron plant growth chambers established at CSU.
The GRDC Grains Research and Development (R&D) Infrastructure Grant is part of a $15 million investment by the GRDC Board to build national research capacity.
Dr Jefferies said the purpose of the GRDC grant program was to boost capacity and capability in Australian grain research and development through funding key infrastructure, and to create enduring profitability for grain growers.
“If our research partners are going to help us deliver to growers it is essential they have the right infrastructure,” he said.
“This is the first time GRDC has invested in a dedicated infrastructure program, not just in southern NSW but nationally, to support our research partners in creating critical capacity and capability.
“This state-of-the-art facility in Wagga is expected to improve the efficiency and productivity of crop research and weed science in southern NSW, helping to fast-track new research outcomes to growers’ paddocks.”
CSU’s deputy vice-chancellor (research, development & industry), Professor Mary Kelly, said the GRDC infrastructure investment would allow the University to lead a more responsive and effective research and development environment in collaboration with other key stakeholders in the grain industry.
“Charles Sturt University serves as an important regional research centre of applied research development and extension (RD&E) that supports farming systems, resulting in improved practices and adoption of national grains research outcomes,” Professor Kelly said.
“This infrastructure investment in glasshouses and plant growth chambers will ensure we have the capacity to perform controlled environmental research with crops and weeds, which will complement and support the expansion of existing research programs.
“It will also be invaluable in supporting joint projects with our farming systems research partners, leading to stronger outcomes in aligned paddock research experiments.”
Professor Kelly said the GRDC investment into infrastructure would also be highly complementary to developing the multi-million-dollar strategic capital investment by CSU into the AgriSciences Research and Business Park.
The life span of the glasshouses is approximately 40 years and that of plant growth chambers 20 years.
The controlled environment facilities will be managed and maintained by CSU as part of its ongoing commitment to world-class facilities in a regional location.
The CSU investment is the second major infrastructure investment in southern NSW by GRDC this month.
On September 1 they announced an investment of more than $1.8 million to help drought-proof field trials for cereals, oilseeds and pulses at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre.
CSU and the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre are just two of 15 recipients sharing in $15 million in infrastructure investment by GRDC to boost RD&E for the enduring profitability of Australian grain growers.