Grain growers attract $18 million

MORE than $18 million will be invested on new projects this year on behalf of WA grain growers in the western region of the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

WA grain growers will also benefit from many of the national research and development programs funded from the GRDC’s total expenditure budget for 1999-2000 of $103.8 million.

GRDC Western Region Panel chairman Terry Enright said the investment in new projects would build on the previous year’s focus on sustainable farming systems, cereals and pulse breeding and agronomy.

“An additional $900,000 has been allocated this year to our soil and water management subprogram, giving a total 1999-2000 investment of $2.8 million to help expand and accelerate the control and management of soil salinity,” Mr Enright said.

“This will be done by examining soil water use by annual crops and pastures, assessing the impact of deep drains and raised soil beds and developing appropriate cropping systems for high rainfall areas.”

More than $2 million is now being spent on sustainable rotations with the injection of $688,000 this year for projects aimed at promoting alternative pasture mixes and their management in cropping, a new project involving herbicides and no-till, an investigation of canola establishment in sandplain systems and the role of green manuring in restoring paddock profitability.

Almost $5 million is being spent in the western region on producing wheat for markets.

This year’s focus is on the development of the Export Grains Centre, crop physiology and agronomic evaluation.

A substantial new investment this year in the pulse productivity program acknowledges grower concerns about the impact disease was having on their yields.

Mr Enright said it was important WA grain growers understood that in addition to specific budget allocations for R&D in their state, the GRDC’s investment in national programs had very tangible flow-on benefits.

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