Cropping

Pushing up yields

By Country News

A high-yielding cereal grains project in Tasmania is expected to generate a ripple effect across Bass Strait, where mainland grain growers are following the project’s progress with interest.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Hyper Yielding Cereals Project focuses on bridging the gap between actual and potential grain yields, and is producing results that are expected to have positive implications for growers both in and beyond Tasmania.

GRDC managing director Steve Jefferies, who attended the most recent Hyper Yielding Cereals Project field day at Hagley in northern Tasmania, said the transformational change being sought through the project is setting the production agenda for the broader grains industry in Australia.

The project has been set the challenge of increasing average Tasmanian red grain feed wheat yields from 4.4tonne/ha to 7tonne/ha by 2020, and delivering commercial wheat crops yielding up to 14tonne/ha by 2020.

Dr Jefferies said it was demonstrating what was possible in Australian grains production.

‘‘The transformational change in yield being achieved through this project is what we really need as an industry going forward.

‘‘The grains industry in Australia has been very successful over the past 15 to 20 years, growing from $6billion to $15billion.

‘‘It’s been a great success story, but we can’t do more of the same.

‘‘We’re under pressure from global competing markets, growers are experiencing a squeeze on profits due to increasing input, labour and equipment costs, and as an industry we’re facing ever-increasing regulatory pressure.’’