$24m boost for grains research in WA

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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DPIRD head Ralph Addis, researcher Catherine Borger, Alannah MacTiernan and DPIRD research director Mark Sweetingham.
Camera IconDPIRD head Ralph Addis, researcher Catherine Borger, Alannah MacTiernan and DPIRD research director Mark Sweetingham.

The State Government yesterday unveiled a $24 million cash boost for grains industry research and development, marking an important step in keeping the industry competitive against the rising threat of Black Sea competition.

The new funding brings the total State Government allocation for WA grains industry research to $45 million over the next four years.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the investment would give WA’s $6 billion-a-year grains industry the support it needed to become more productive and stay competitive as farmers faced unprecedented international competition from Argentina and Black Sea nations Russia and Ukraine.

“We have got the barbarians on our borders, almost, with their grain, and we need to arm up,” she said.

The Government’s significant commitment to grain research would help leverage co-investment from the Federal Government and other sources.

Ms MacTiernan broke the news of the funding boost yesterday as she opened a new $11.5 million purpose-built Grains Research Facility at Northam.

The new facility boosts the State’s existing regional grains research capacity and improves the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s ability to deliver projects in association with the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

It provides a scientific hub for collaborative field research by public and private sectors, and specifically addresses WA’s grain production issues.

“These facilities are among the best the nation has to offer in applied agronomic research, which will attract interest and opportunities for collaboration from regional, national and international scientists and agribusiness,” Ms MacTiernan said.

R&D work at the facility includes the development of new varieties and cropping systems, improving soil fertility and crop nutrient availability, and management of pests, weeds and diseases, to enhance profitability for WA growers.

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