Reach new frontiers

Aspiration: Productivity of crops exceeds what we thought possible.

By re-imagining what is possible – focusing on what we want to achieve rather than being restricted by how to achieve it – we will intensify our focus on the discovery of novel approaches to deliver step-changes in soil and water productivity, yield improvement and input-use efficiency.

Growers and the industry seek step-change innovation to accelerate the industry towards a new production frontier. A more ambitious strategy aimed at discovering new breakthroughs in yield and input-use efficiency of major crops will be implemented over the life of the plan. While investment in this area invariably has a higher level of risk and potential failure rate, collectively a diverse portfolio of investments aims to deliver game-changing solutions whilst mitigating risk. Investment should accelerate the delivery of efficiency gains at a scale never before realised, with a focus upon unlocking plant potential, the capture and storage of water in soils and more effective allocation of key farm inputs to land capability and production potential.

iconStep-changes in soil and water productivity

Water is a finite resource and widely accepted as the most universally limiting determinant of crop yield in Australia. In the face of climate change, and in one of the driest and most variable environments on the planet, unproductive water use through evaporation, run-off and deep drainage frequently present an opportunity lost. New approaches to transform the capture, storage and availability of water for crops have the potential to deliver step change yield improvement and sustainability benefit. Increased investment to dramatically reduce unproductive water losses and unlock the chemical, biological and physical productivity of soils will be a focus. This could include discoveries that overcome constraints currently beyond our control, unlock soil nutrient reserves, reduce or eliminate nutrient losses to the environment or enhance beneficial biological activity in our soils.

GRDC should be willing to try things growers will not necessarily do with their own money [alone] – and this can cover the span of every farm activity.

iconUnlock plant potential

Investment in this area will aim to increase the water-limited yield potential and input use efficiency of crops beyond what is currently possible. Global effort will be leveraged to unlock crop potential through changes to fundamental crop architecture, physiology and/or biochemistry. A major effort will be made to explore new and speculative approaches to deal with climate change and extreme weather events, including elevated temperatures and threats posed by drought, heat and frost.

iconTransform efficiency of input use

While efficiency of input use will be continually tweaked, a wealth of data and new technologies have the potential to drive cost efficiency to completely new levels. RD&E to help optimise fixed and variable costs will improve grower returns and reduce risk. Investment in this area will aim to match costs to yield and profit potential, with a focus on the big opportunities to improve margins and move growers to the next frontier. Major areas of focus will include opportunities to improve decision making and increase precision to support input allocation at sub-paddock scale, as well as accelerate the application and deployment of automation and robotics to reduce labour and/or efficiency of repetitive tasks.

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