Figure 2 Area sown to grains by
crop type, 1997-98 to 2006-07
Figure 1 Total grain production and
cropping area, 1997-98 to 2006-07
The GRDC in collaboration with its research partners successfully implemented a drought response strategy in 2006–07 to minimise the impact of the drought on R&D investments. Other successes for 2006–07 included the:
- formation of the National Wheat Breeders' Alliance
- formation of the Australian Winter Cereals Pre-Breeding Alliance
- launch of Pulse Breeding Australia
- first year of operation of Barley Breeding Australia
- agreement between the GRDC, CSIRO and Groupe Limagrain to form the joint venture Arista Cereal Technologies Pty Ltd, to deliver high–amylose wheat
- continued improvement of the alignment between GRDC activities and the objectives of our key customer groups—Australian grain growers and the Australian Government—and other stakeholders
- acquisition of the genome sequence of the blackleg fungus, enabling prediction of the longevity and effectiveness of particular blackleg resistance sources in canola
- identification of the genes which produce beta–glucans, a form of dietary fibre, in barley
- establishment of a free–air carbon experiment to evaluate the impact of elevated carbon dioxide on cereal crop performance
- development and extension of approaches to better integrate livestock into cropping systems, through the Grain and Graze program
- development and extension of effective integrated management approaches for pests such as the etiella moth in lentils and mirid populations in soybeans
- launch of Australia's first variety of canola–quality juncea, Dune .
Figure 4 Grain grower levy by crop
type in 2006-07
Figure 3 GRDC total income in 2006-07
The GRDC works in an ever-changing business environment in the grains industry. Factors that particularly affected the industry in 2006-07 included significant changes in global grain markets, and the severity of drought in Australia, which had a major impact on grains production and on the GRDC's levy-based income.
To meet these challenges, the GRDC focused on maintaining its existing R&D infrastructure as far as possible and minimising disruption to ongoing projects, while reducing the corporation's operating costs. This included working with R&D partners to identify activities that could be deferred or cancelled and potential savings in existing projects.
At the same time, the GRDC continued to work with industry and R&D partners to meet the ongoing challenge of achieving a profitable and environmentally sustainable Australian grains industry by:
- formulating a nationally coordinated approach to grains R&D, to reduce fragmentation and duplication and to ensure maximum leverage for R&D expenditure
- developing an industry-wide agreement on the evaluation and development of genetic modification technology as it applies to the Australian grains industry
- supporting the development of superior varieties and best farming practices, to ensure grain growers remain competitive and profitable and receive maximum value
- encouraging cross-industry cooperation on common issues and challenges
- developing improved information delivery channels.
Five years at a glance
|Number of full-time GRDC staffa||44||▼||50||46||43||42|
|Estimated number of grain farmsb||36,417||▼||37,122||37,841||38,574||38,802|
|Number of grain crops covered by R&D levies||25||25||25||25||25|
|Estimated gross value of production||$7,154m||▼||$8,613m||$7,000m||$9,800m||$4,746m|
|Total grain production—summer and winter crops||17,011,000 t||▼||43,794,000 t||37,288,000 t||45,966,000 t||19,248,000 t|
a. Number of full-time GRDC staff as at 30 June each year.
b. ABARE estimates for the total number of broadacre farms planting more than 30 hectares per year for grain production.