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Research. Innovation. Technology.

Highlights from Australian agrifood innovation.

Honey bees

Beekeepers back genetic improvement to boost honey bee industry performance

Around half of Australian beekeepers desire more information to be made available on the queen bees they purchase, with selection traits and queen bee pedigree at the top of the list.

 

That’s according to a survey of 196 beekeepers and 11 queen bee breeders recently conducted by the University of Sydney and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) as part of the Australian Government Rural R&D for Profit, Plan Bee Genetic Improvement Program.

  • Led by
    AgriFutures Australia
Carbon

$2 million for innovative carbon research – open call for proposals

AgriFutures Australia has announced a $2 million carbon initiative to explore new and innovative products, practices and technologies to improve carbon storage or reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) in Australia’s agricultural sector. 

 

AgriFutures is calling for research proposals that have the potential to deliver high impact and practical benefits for farmers, fishers and foresters across six investment areas.  

  • Led by
    AgriFutures Australia
Commercial Opportunity

Spray drift warning system a step closer to implementation

Minimising spray drift is a high priority for Australian agriculture, with the grains and cotton industries joining to develop a hazardous weather warning system to provide real-time weather data and alerts to growers and spray operators.

  • Led by
    Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC)
  • In collaboration with
    Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)
Dairy

Dairy Australia introduces program to help farmers achieve long-term goals

'Our Farm, Our Plan' has been developed by Dairy Australia with support from Dairy NZ and the Gardiner Foundation and is designed to help farmers answer some of the big questions, clarify business and personal goals, and prioritise what to do next.

 

For a 12-month period, farmers receive support to put their plan on a page and get everyone in their business on the same page. Dairy Australia farm performance lead Neil Webster said research had shown that when goals were documented people's commitment increased and they were more likely to carry through with the actions needed to achieve their goals.

  • Led by
    Dairy Australia
  • In collaboration with
    Dairy NZ & The Gardiner Foundation
Wool

New England Merino Lifetime Productivity online field day

The recent New England Field Day was converted from an in-person, on-site experience to an online event featuring the 2018 drop and 2017 drop MLP ewes. A launch webinar and website showcasing sire progeny inspection videos and results, along with a site seasonal overview and associated Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) and New England research updates, will now be available online for the life of the MLP project

  • Led by
    Australian Wool Innovation
  • In collaboration with
    Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association
Wool

Vaccine researchers striking back against flystrike

Australian Wool Innovation is now two years into a major four-year preliminary research project to help develop a commercial vaccine that will protect sheep right across Australia from the Australian sheep blowfly. This $2.5 million collaborative project has achieved much in its first two years. Here, CSIRO project leader Tony Vuocolo provides woolgrowers with an update on his particular area of research on the project.

  • Led by
    Australian Wool Innovation
  • In collaboration with
    CSIRO
Eggs

Largest worldwide study of animal gut health now completed

The ‘Study of gut microbiota of laying hens from different production systems’ or simply, the ‘gut health’ project has recently been completed. To our knowledge, this is the most detailed and thorough study of the gut microbiota ever undertaken in any animal species.

 

This research recognised the importance of gut microbiota in the productivity of layer flocks and provided comprehensive information on the typical baseline composition of gut microbiota in healthy layer hens in cage, barn, and free range production systems.

 

  • Led by
    Australian Eggs
Eggs

Resilient plants on the range

Plants (ground cover and trees) grown on free range layer farms provide a vital role by enriching the outdoor range and creating an attractive area for hens to go outdoors and explore. However, specific information on what to grow and how to go about sowing pastures and planting trees/shrubs is not easy to find for free range egg farmers, with material spread across many and varied sources.

 

Therefore, the main aim of the project was to consolidate agronomic information on the how and what to plant while also taking into consideration the main climatic zones of Australia.

  • Led by
    Australian Eggs
Seaweed

Ocean farmed seaweed harvests underway

This year marks Australia’s first harvests of commercial-grade, farmed ocean seaweeds – the first in September, the second in November. Both harvests, in Tasmania, have occurred under the auspices of the Seaweed Solutions Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P), funded through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.  

  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Crop yield

Making hay while the FieldExplorer shines: New cutting edge technology to grow the oaten hay sector

A new application of imaging technology is set to revolutionise the way the oaten hay industry determines yield potential and quality in-crop, producing a wave of potential opportunities and benefits up and down the value chain.

  • Led by
    Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
  • In collaboration with
    Australian Plant Phenomics Facility and AgriFutures Australia
Prawns

Prawn fishery counts its natural capital

Natural capital accounting can help fisheries businesses assess the risks and opportunities associated with the ecosystem assets they rely on. 

 

A new study is looking at the prawn-producing habitat in the estuary – made up of saltmarsh, seagrasses and mangroves – with a view to understanding how this natural capital supports the fishery’s productivity and to value its contribution through the use of natural capital accounting.

  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Dairy

Forage Value Index worth investigating for dairy farmers

Dairy farmers who have chosen to renovate perennial pastures this autumn are encouraged to use Dairy Australia's Forage Value Index (FVI) to select the right ryegrass for their farm and ensure they are making the best decisions for the year ahead. 

 

The FVI enables farmers to select perennial ryegrass cultivars that will deliver the best possible pasture based on their location, farming system and forage needs. 

  • Led by
    Dairy Australia