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Research. Innovation. Technology.

Highlights from Australian agrifood innovation.

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
Fisheries

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)
Waste

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)
Fisheries

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)
Safety

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