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Research. Innovation. Technology.

Highlights from Australian agrifood innovation.


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

Sound analysis expands its reach

An extension of the acoustic network around the Australian coastline is set to provide new information about tagged fish and other marine species, helping to improve fisheries management.


Dotted around Australia’s extensive coastline are hundreds of acoustic marine receivers – listening stations that form part of a national network, tracking the progress of tagged marine animals as they travel to feed, breed and play.

  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Innovative plastic mulch alternative set to increase crop water productivity by 30%

CSIRO’s latest invention, TranspiratiONal, a spray-on polymer membrane will help farmers increase crop yield and save water, but with fewer inputs and less environmental impact.


Farmers across the world have used plastic mulch films to intensify crop production since the 1960s. Applying a thin plastic film to rows of crops has proven short-term benefits, boosting yields by moderating soil temperature, maintaining soil moisture and reducing weed competition. TranspiratiONal, a Sprayable Biodegradable Polymer Membrane (SBPM) technology is CSIRO’s response to this global challenge.

  • Led by
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Tuna story to inspire new generation of fishers

The remarkable story behind the recovery of Southern Bluefin Tuna from an endangered species to a globally sustainable fishery is told in a recently released Australian documentary. 


The combined efforts of Australian science, industry innovation and community education have been showcased in the documentary Life on the line − The story of the Southern Bluefin Tuna, which tells the story of how these highly prized, temperate ocean dwellers were brought back from the brink of commercial extinction.

  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Sea Urchin

Multi pronged strategy targets invasive urchins

A coalition of research, government and industry partners is working to bring invasive sea urchins under control in Tasmania, with a mix of biological and market solutions. 


The Shortspined Sea Urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) occurs naturally in Tasmanian waters and exists in harmony with the local ecosystem. However, the Longspined Sea Urchin is an unwelcome visitor, and a badly behaved one at that.  

  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Soil testing

Easy as 1, 2 3 …. 4, 5, 6

Sugar Research Australia has worked with local industry in the Rocky Point region to develop sustainable nutrient management guidelines for that area, helping improve profitability and sustainability.


Father and son team Larry and Ben Spann grow sugarcane on about 200 hectares of lease country in the Rocky Point region near Norwell in southeast Queensland.


They see a solid future for the industry to the point where they are developing more country for planting. However, at the same time, they are also acutely aware that the low sugar price means that they must be efficient with their inputs and reduce costs. 

  • Led by
    Sugar Research Australia (SRA)

MLA funded BladeStop: a safety success story

MLA funded BladeStop technology is now bringing huge safety benefits for workers in processing plants across 25 countries. 

  • BladeStop band saw safety system has reached a milestone of 1,000 units installed in processor plants across the world.
  • Developed by Machinery Automation and Robotics (now a part of Scott Technology) with funding from the MLA Donor Company, the technology reduces the risk of serious injury for workers by mechanically stopping the blade when the unit senses that the operator has come into contact.
  • Led by
    Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)
Urban farming

Bringing high tech horticulture to urban areas in Australia – rooftop, underground and floating farms

Hort Innovation is working with a consortium, led by agricultural consultancy RMCG in partnership with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and global urban agriculture consultancy Agritecture, to assess the potential of emerging production technology and its application in the Australian urban landscape as part of a six-month project. 


The benefits to growers and Australia by use of technology such as vertical farm systems and hydroponics is food production and delivery systems that have the potential to redefine horticulture by optimising yield, quality, and supply.

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation

New app to stop little cotton pests flying under the radar

Near impossible to identify and count with the naked eye, silverleaf whitefly has increased in prevalence in recent years.


To make identification easier, University of Southern Queensland researchers Dr Alison McCarthy and Dr Derek Long, in collaboration with Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries researcher Dr Paul Grundy, are developing a new artificial intelligence smartphone app with funding from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

  • Led by
    Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC)
  • In collaboration with
    Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland (DAFQ)

Tree genomics program sequences 300 macadamia varieties to improve productivity and profitability for growers

The National Tree Genomics program is in the final stages of sequencing over 300 macadamia wild and cultivated varieties.


The national program harnesses cutting-edge genetic technologies for the benefit of Australian horticultural tree crop industries. New tools are currently being developed that will equip Australian plant breeders to deliver new varieties with key productivity and profitability traits. New tools will also stem from this program for growers to enhance farm productivity.

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation

Breeding efforts enhance production for Sydney Rock Oysters

Greater control over breeding processes is producing faster-growing, fatter and more resilient Sydney Rock Oysters, helping the native species gain ground in the marketplace. 


  • Led by
    Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Numnuts gears up for investors to accelerate commercialisation

A Scottish agritech startup is set to transform one of the world’s most common sheep husbandry practices. To potential investors, it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.


The challenge was how to create a tool that farmers themselves could safely use to deliver the dose to where it was needed, at the same time the ring was applied, and in a single procedure. Solving that would help solve one of the greatest challenges in modern sheep husbandry.