New quarantine facility to speed up plant evaluation at Horsham grains genebank

Grain Central April 12, 2021

A NEW, $4 million, Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility has been opened at the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham in Victoria.

The state-of-the-art plant quarantine facility, which was opened by Victorian Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas, will allow researchers to rapidly evaluate genetic material from overseas and accelerate the delivery of new and improved crop varieties to Australian farmers.

The AGG is a partnership between the Victorian Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), which each invested $2 million towards the PEQ facility.

The 400-square-metre PEQ glasshouse is fitted with LED lighting and a wi-fi enabled irrigation system, allowing researchers to grow and evaluate more seeds faster, while adhering to Australia’s stringent biosecurity and emerging international quarantine requirements.

Seeds must pass through quarantine processes before being distributed to plant breeders and researchers.

The process involves growing out the seed and carrying out a range of tests to ensure it is free from exotic pests and diseases.

The fully automated glasshouse can accommodate 3900 pots and two-and-a-half growth cycles per year, expediting the quarantine process and helping to ensure improved crop varieties get to farmers faster.

The Australian Grains Genebank PEQ facility is part of the Victorian Government’s new Agriculture Strategy which is working towards enhancing the commercialisation of research and ensuring our agriculture sector is well placed to be stronger, more innovative and sustainable.

“The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) supports the development of new, more productive grain crop varieties for Australia. This new state-of-the-art infrastructure will enable world-class research, encouraging more scientists to the region and upholding our national and international biosecurity and quarantine requirements,” Minister Thomas said.

GRDC managing director Anthony Williams said the facility would accelerate the development of the Australian pulse industry by reducing the quarantine wait time from two years to six months and enable the delivery of better varieties faster to growers and consumers.

Source: Victorian Government



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