An investment of more than $3 million into grain research infrastructure at Charles Sturt University (CSU) will help boost research into crop productivity and weed science.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Managing Director Steve Jefferies announced a $2.7m GRDC grant which will see world-class glasshouses and phytotron plant growth chambers established at CSU in Wagga Wagga. CSU is providing a co-contribution of $300,000.
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 critical they have the right infrastructure,” he said.
“This program is the first time GRDC has invested in infrastructure, 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 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and 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 Charles Sturt University 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 in September 2017. On September 1 2017 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.