Output Group 3: New Products
On this page:
- To develop innovative technologies, management practices and grain products that enhance grower profitability and the competitive performance of Australia's grain value chains
The New Products output group invests in research, development and commercialisation opportunities in grain and farm products for the Australian grains industry at all stages of the value chain.
The scope of the output group's activities includes:
- developing and delivering new products and services to growers
- accessing and applying intellectual property to help speed the delivery of new technology to the Australian grains industry
- identifying suitable structures and partnerships to attract third-party investment
- developing robust business cases that demonstrate market demand and value to support any product or service that the GRDC and its research partners propose to invest in researching, developing or commercialising.
These activities aim to improve the development and application of novel on-farm technologies, new and sustainable grain storage strategies and radical new biocontrol agents. The output group also seeks to improve industry food safety management and identify investment opportunities in new grain products that have the potential to enhance grower profitability.
The output group recognises that in many of these areas there are few potential research and commercialisation partners within Australia, and this makes it necessary to identify opportunities to form partnerships internationally to help new technologies reach Australia sooner.
In total, $11.18 million was invested through the New Products output group in 2005-06.
In addition, the New Products output group attracted significant co-investment from its research partners. We also relied on the skills and expertise of the people within our partner organisations.
Gathering new product market intelligence
Prior to the commitment of a large investment, prudently directed scoping studies are used to gather market intelligence. Areas currently being examined include biofuels, speciality grain food products, novel oils with altered oil profile for better health, on-farm instrumentation, and opportunities for Australian grains in Asian markets.
One such study of the Chinese wheat market, carried out in conjunction with AWB Ltd, showed that the Australian wheat industry cannot rely just on growth to drive a relationship, and must consider other factors such as ways to capture premiums for grain quality in the Chinese market. The reason for this is that, as China's demand is shifting towards higher quality grain, China's capacity to produce such grain is also increasing. This result reinforces and adds direction to the GRDC's commitment to determining the correct traits to concentrate on in the Varieties line of business.
Another scoping study was commissioned on the possibilities for biomass ethanol in Australia. This study examined the likely technologies, time frames, capital costs and production costs, and included a preliminary assessment of potential biomass availability. A watching brief was recommended: to allow United States technologies to mature and absorb the high risk associated with start-up technologies, with a view to adapting suitable projects for use in Australia in the future; and to monitor oil price trends, which forms the basis of assessing the viability of the ethanol industry.
Developing sustainable grain storage technologies
The development of sustainable grain storage technologies continues to be a key investment area for the GRDC. Ongoing research to improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind insect resistance to phosphine aims to maintain phosphine's effective use as a stored-grain fumigant. In 2005-06, good progress was made in understanding how phosphine gas disperses through the grain silo and how effectively this kills the insects at various levels. Also, the use of phosphine in unsealed silos was examined and shown to be ineffective. This is an extremely important result, as ineffective use contributes to increased pest resistance.
The GRDC has invested in resistance monitoring and management activities on a national basis to ensure that resistant insects are identified quickly and eliminated. Meanwhile, research to develop new fumigants continues in case insect resistance eventually causes phosphine to be lost to the industry altogether. This year a promising new fumigant, called Spinosad, was identified, and the process of gaining approval for use in Australia commenced. This is an enormous achievement considering how difficult it is to find appropriate fumigants to use in grain storage to kill the insects and leave a minimal residue. Additionally, a significant success was achieved by one of our projects to secure the use of several other important fumigants (including dichlorovos, fenitrothion and methoprene) for use in the Australian grains industry.
Harvest bags are a novel storage technology that the GRDC has invested in, to better understand the value of the technology and its potential to deliver greater flexibility to an integrated grain harvest storage system. In 2005-06, the first year of inspection trials, a number of key issues such as the level of gas tightness and punctures were identified for closer monitoring.
Managing food safety risks
Although food safety risks are generally low in the grains industry, it is important for the industry to have the ability to manage food safety risk in order to guarantee market access and the broader safety of consumers. The GRDC supports the Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence and has invested in a number of other projects which examine specific problems.
For example, a project at the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries has been employed to produce a management plan for mycotoxin contamination in maize. The researchers have successfully assessed the risks for mycotoxin contamination from the current crop and set out an action plan to mitigate the risks. They collected samples of grain and assayed for mycotoxin contamination. This strategy has confirmed a low risk of contamination in maize for the toxin this year.
The GRDC has also invested in the further development and extension of biocontrol options for the organisms that cause annual ryegrass toxicity. These projects will provide both useful tools for growers and vital strategic information for the grains industry.
Investigating new uses for grains
New Products has the challenge of examining and developing a variety of new grain products to ensure that Australian graingrowers have access to new and developing markets. Importantly, the GRDC is working with all areas of the value chain to ensure that identified new products can successfully be commercialised successfully.
Projects in progress during 2005-06 included research to develop niche food products, such as new food uses for feed grains. Lupin is a relatively unresearched crop in terms of the products it can provide for human and animal consumption.
GRDC projects have shown that lupins can have very positive health benefits and that a number of novel food additives can be extracted from the grain. The CRC for Innovative Grain Food Products is researching the feasibility of creating new food products, not only from feed grains but also from variants of other grain varieties, to create new markets for graingrowers. These results will assist grain producers to select crops that can be used in supplying health foods or additives to the food-manufacturing sector and, potentially, to receive premiums for these grains.
Go Grains spreads the good word
Go Grains is an independent, membership-based organisation that delivers messages about grain nutrition and health to consumers.
Go Grains began as a joint initiative of the GRDC and BRI Australia in 1998, and became an independent organisation in 2005. Its members are companies and organisations with an interest in maintaining a high profile for grain and pulse foods in order to promote consumption and ensure that consumer demand for grain-based foods remains strong.
The work undertaken by Go Grains underpins market demand for grain-based products and helps to offset the impact that the long-term decline in the terms of trade-caused by steadily falling grain prices and rising production costs-has on the Australian grains industry. The GRDC's support for Go Grains aims to ensure that the industry benefits from continuing strong market demand for grain.
Go Grains seeks to understand consumer requirements for nutritious, high-quality foods, to be aware of lifestyle trends that affect food consumption, and to translate the benefits of grains into meaningful messages. Appropriate responses to market requirements will ensure that the Australian grains industry continues to produce safe, healthy food products that are trusted and valued by consumers.
Through a range of well-placed media releases, information packages and education initiatives, the organisation has become a recognised reference point for positive and factual information.Through the persistent and careful cultivation of this image, Go Grains will remain a powerful marketing vehicle for the grains industry.
Aeration controllers streamline storage management
Achieving and maintaining consistent grain quality in storage depend on a number of environmental factors, and the management of storage systems can be a complex and expensive exercise. The GRDC partnered the CSIRO Stored Grain Research Laboratory in Canberra and a Western Australian company, Industrial Automation, to develop an aeration controller that simultaneously controls the aeration, drying, cooling and maintenance functions for up to ten independent storage units.
The new Adaptive Discounting Controller took seven years to develop, and became available to growers as the 'Aeration Manager' in 2005-06. Uniquely, the system takes into account both the moisture content and temperature of grain at the time of loading and the desired grain condition after time in storage, and controls aeration to achieve this result.
The controller turns fans on only when the grain requires airflow, resulting in significant efficiencies in operation. The adaptive discounting feature uses technology that recognises when weather conditions may cool or dry grain more than normal, and adjusts certain set points to take advantage of the conditions. Failsafe alarms increase the reliability of the system and offer additional peace of mind for the farmer.
This successful partnership between public-sector and private-sector organisations, based in different states, to research, develop and commercialise this technology is an example of the GRDC's role in identifying industry needs and facilitating a beneficial outcome for graingrowers.
The GRDC invested in projects that have:
The GRDC also:
The GRDC worked with research partners and supply chain participants to coordinate the development of a national approach to grain storage research and extension in order to continue to:
The GRDC supported research to:
The GRDC also supported:
The GRDC commissioned a technology and market assessment study to identify investment opportunities andJanuary 31, 2007o analyse soil and grain properties on-farm. This is a precursor to the development of a more detailed investment strategy.
|Commercialisation||In April 2006, a jointly owned company, Philom Bios (Australia) Pty Ltd, was established to commercialise a range of new soil inoculants.|
|Commencement of a situational analysis of on-farm grain storage,taking into account the needs ofgrowers, identifying storage optionsand the impacts that they couldhave on other value chain participants||Expanding on work done in 2004-05, the GRDC worked with other value chain participants and researchers to investigate the management and use of phosphine. The objective is to develop a whole-of-chain investment and management vehicle to optimise the industry's investment in stored grains into the future.|
|Collaboration with three or more value chain participants, ensuringthat Australian grain participatesmore effectively in Asian markets||During the year the GRDC put in place a research project to test Australian grain in a new higher value Asian market not usually supplied by Australia. In supporting this project together the researcher involved several marketing chain participants.|
|Commercial evaluation and testing of biological inputs for profitablefarming, enabling final commercialisation arrangementsto be established||Under the unincorporated joint venture between the GRDC and Philom Bios Inc. of Canada, established in early 2005, limited field trials were carried out during the 2005 season and a business case for the establishment of an incorporated joint venture was completed.|
|Development of a business case forthe commercialisation of a suite ofnew grain fumigants, and thecommercialisation of these fumigantsthrough to the negotiation of suitablelicensing arrangements||A licence option agreement was developed between CSIRO (on behalf of the GRDC and the other co-owners of the technology) and BOC Ltd to undertake the evaluation and registration of carbonyl sulphide and ethyl formate.|