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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

GRDC Targets Heat-Tolerant Crops

Among grain growing regions in Australia, the highest cost per hectare in in northwest New South Wales and South West Queensland where costs are estimated to average $165 per hectare – 27% higher than any other region.

Heat shock is the single most common factor that constrains grain production in Australia, costing farmers approximately $1.1 billion per year in yield losses.

In response, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is accelerating its work to understand heat tolerance in crops and to develop improved crop varieties that can provide higher yields at higher temperatures.

The framework of this plan was released in the GRDC External Investment Plan 2016-17, and is one of the GRDC’s initiatives earmarked for investment after receiving feedback from industry regarding needed future research.

Although drought tolerance has been a focus of the GRDC for years, farmers and industry have been requesting additional resources to provide oilseed, grain, pulse, and cereal varieties that demonstrate even higher water limited yields than the current best varieties on the market.

“Although the actual on-farm yields are impacted by a grower’s management practices, water limited yield potential is genetically determined,” said James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair. “That’s why it’s critical for GRDC to continue investing in areas like this. It gives us a strategic path forward for the future viability of grain production in northern Australia.”

Applications for funding are being accepted under six set key themes – improving crop yields, protecting crops, meeting market requirements, advancing profitable farming systems, improving farm resource base, and improving capacity and skills.

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