CROPPING

Multi-faceted research approach targets northern crop production

A FOUR-year research, development and extension (RD&E) program is aiming to enhance the productivity and sustainability of the northern regions of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Staff writer
 Cotton is part of a new, multi-industry research project which includes cattle and grain production. Photo Mark Saunders.

Cotton is part of a new, multi-industry research project which includes cattle and grain production. Photo Mark Saunders.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has joined forces with the Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC), the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), universities, state governments and industry stakeholders to launch the CRCNA Cotton Grain Cattle Program.

Comprising six interlinked projects, the program is designed to address pressing research gaps in the emerging broadacre regions of Northern Australia, while also boosting the value delivered to the cattle industry.

The program is based on an analysis undertaken by the CRCNA which highlighted the importance of integrated agricultural systems in Northern Australia. It revealed that the greatest RD&E investment value is achieved when cropping is coordinated with other activities, such as beef production.

GRDC and CRDC's commitment to this program equates to a total investment of approximately $1 million each. GRDC acknowledges cotton as the emerging pillar broadacre crop in Northern Australia.

Despite the relative infancy of grain production in the region and the current infrastructure challenges, GRDC's senior regional manager - North, Gillian Meppem, is confident in the potential and value of this program.

"In addition to supporting this program in a way that is proportional with the current level of grain production in far Northern Australia, we have continued strong stakeholder liaison across Northern Australia to identify relevant grains RD&E need and investment opportunities," Meppem said.

The six projects across key northern regions to develop integrated agricultural systems are:

  1. Crops for cattle to increase the efficiency of Northern Australian cattle production systems using local crops to improve dry season weight gain (Northern Territory)
  2. Fundamentals of cropping-systems that deliver sustainable growth of the agricultural sector (NT)
  3. Cropping-enabled cattle production helped by feed products from irrigated cropping (WA)
  4. Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) sustainable systems for diversification of ORIA cropping (WA)
  5. Extension capacity of cropping systems, enhancing to sustain growth (Northern Queensland)
  6. Cotton, grains and cattle farming systems (NQ)

For more details on the CRCNA Cotton Grain Cattle program, visit https://www.crcna.com.au

 

 

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