The research, development and extension (RD&E) investment portfolio in 2019–20 included 719 projects at various stages of development.
Under the 2018–2023 RD&E Plan, we adopted a balanced portfolio approach to RD&E investment structured around five core objectives aligned with our purpose, and government and industry objectives.
The objectives for RD&E investment focus on the five key drivers of profit—yield, price, costs (input and post-farmgate) and risk—and comprises a balanced mix of investments to:
- maintain grower profitability
- support incremental improvements in profitability in the short to medium term
- achieve transformational impact for the Australian grains industry in the long term.
To ensure the ongoing profitability of growers, we will continue to invest in RD&E in areas such as biosecurity, pest and disease management, weed management, grain quality and grain classification, and market access and competitiveness.
Our support for RD&E to increase profitability will include a mix of investments targeting incremental improvements of 1.0 per cent to 2.0 per cent and transformational changes of 10.0 per cent to 20.0 per cent.
Incremental profit improvements are important in maintaining grower competitiveness in current international markets. RD&E investment to support incremental improvements generally delivers on-farm changes in the short to medium term (up to eight years), and is characterised as having lower technical, commercial and/or adoption risk.
Transformational change underpins the innovation required to remain competitive in the long term, and potentially provides opportunities for Australian growers to establish dominant positions in some markets. RD&E to support transformational change is generally high risk and requires longer time periods for delivery.
In keeping with our focus on an investment culture, we will continue to shape the R&D investment portfolio balancing the need for continual incremental improvements in profit with the desire for larger transformational changes.
Our focus is on maximising the impact of RD&E investment on the profitability of growers all across Australia rather than just those that contribute most of the funds or based on the locations where the funds are invested. Investment on a regional and local basis is a critical component of any program seeking to influence grower attitude, motivation or ability to adopt new innovations; however, the location of RD&E is determined only by the capability and capacity required.
Therefore, for the provision of strategic and applied research, we will continue to work with the best providers who may be identified from within Australia and internationally.