Go to top of page

Annual performance statements

Accountable Authority Statement

I, John Woods, on behalf of the Board, as the accountable authority of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), present the 2019–20 annual performance statements, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and section 28 of the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (PIRD Act).

It is the Board’s opinion that these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect the performance of GRDC, and are in accordance with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Summary of performance

The results against GRDC’s performance criteria in the portfolio budget statements and annual operational plan for 2019–20 are outlined in Table 1 on pages 14–16.

Analysis of our performance against targets is on pages 17–21.

Signature of John Woods, Chair

John Woods
Chair, GRDC Board

Table 1: Our performance against portfolio budget statements measures

Key performance indicator


2019–20 Result


A minimum 6.0 per cent average farm business rate of return by 2023

In 2019–20 rates of return (RoR) were 3.98 per cent.

The result is lower than the 5-year average RoR from 2014–2018, which is 4.24 per cent, but above the 10-year average RoR (2009–2018) of 3.69 per cent.

Data source: ABARES Australian grains: financial performance of grain farms 2016–17 to 2018–19

Objective 1

Improve yield and yield stability

The impact of RD&E investment in improving yield will be measured in terms of minimum yield increases equivalent to 1.0 per cent per annum for cereals, 2.0 per cent per annum for pulses and 1.5 per cent per annum for oilseeds, achieved while identifying and investing in technology for transformational improvement in yield potential and yield stability

In 2019–20 the yield increase results* were:

  • cereals—1.02 per cent increase in yield
  • oilseeds—0.99 per cent increase in yield
  • pulses—0.87 per cent increase in yield.

Data source: ABARES yield values 2019–20

*Results are derived from the year-on-year % changes in the 5-year average yields.

By 2023 a minimum 20.0 per cent closure of the gap between potential and actual yields

  • Over a 5-year average (2015–2019) newer wheat varieties provided a 1.78 per cent yield gain per year relative to a set of varieties, which were between 3 and 10 years old.

Data source: 2019 National Variety Trials

  • Over a 4-year period (2015–2018), 70.0 per cent of surveyed wheat, barley and canola crops had no discernible yield gap.

Data source: Final Technical Report, GRDC National Paddock Survey 2019

Objective 2

Maintain and improve price

Identification of potential new products that attract premium prices

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has been collaborating with a Chinese university to undertake sensory analysis on new oat products. Oats are high in beta glucan which can provide consumers with cardiovascular health benefits. To date the investment has delivered several new oat products including oat rice and an oat milk drink. The health benefits of oat products are increasing demand for Australian food grade oats varieties and researchers are working on new varieties with higher beta glucan percentages.

Identification of opportunities for product differentiation

Relevant investments current in 2019–20 include:

  • an AEGIC study found that red bran not only has a large impact on the colour of whole grain bread, it also imparts a bitter flavour. The white bran of Australian wheat does not have these issues, giving it a significant advantage in Asian countries
  • understanding the opportunities for Australian sorghum in domestic and export food markets
  • improving Australian malt barley flavour to address Chinese brewing requirements
  • the malt market in Vietnam has seen substantial growth over the past five years. AEGIC has conducted choice analysis with various brewers and identified their preference for malt traits.

Defence of current market access programs

  • Study on increasing barley protein levels for the Asian brewing market.
  • Diagnostic development and surveillance for biosecurity threats to Australian grains, horticulture, cotton and forestry industries.

Objective 3

Optimise input costs

Maintain increases in chemistry costs below the 5-year trend (2018–2023) equivalent to $85.50/ha or a ratio of input to crop revenue of 0.166

$82.68 per hectare (2018–19)

or a ratio of 0.130

Data source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industry Surveys

Maintain increases in fertiliser costs below the 5-year trend (2018–2023) equivalent to $84.30/ha or a ratio of input to crop revenue of 0.164

$82.35 per hectare (2018–19)

or a ratio 0.131

Data source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industry Surveys

Objective 4

Reduce post-farmgate costs

Timely RD&E-based submissions to government to support policy decision-making

GRDC is jointly investing with Agrifutures to develop capability across the grains industry to monitor, anticipate and respond to shifts in the levels of trust the community has in Australia’s rural industries.

Timely addressing of technical barriers to trade issues

The Grains Sector Greenhouse Gas baseline and mitigation project will enable the Australian grains industry to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of grain production while at the same time contributing to enhanced grain grower profitability.

Objective 5

Manage risk to maximise profit and minimise losses

The number of growers undertaking business training

In 2019–20, 49.0 per cent of growers attended GRDC sponsored face-to-face activities, including shed meetings, field days, workshops and updates.

The average value rating for all GRDC sponsored events out of a score of five is 3.7.

Establishment of a behavioural economics initiative to research grower decision-making

During 2019–20 a number of research proposals were considered for investment to progress this target. These included data capture and evaluation to examine how growers respond to targeted information.

Note: Key performance indicators and targets are defined in the Agriculture Portfolio Budget Statements 2019–20, pages 156–158, and GRDC Annual Operational Plan 2019–20, pages 6–7. Survey results are taken from the most recent survey in which the target was measured.