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Arena 3 - Growing Profitability

Growing Profitability

Goal

To enhance the profitability and sustainability of our levied rural industries.
Regional communities and the broader Australian economy depend on profitable farms and industry. There is a clear link between economic prosperity and our capacity for innovation and uptake of new technology. Rural industries that are well placed to adopt new ideas and use technology to create productivity benefits, are more likely to establish a competitive advantage and are better structured for sustainable growth.

That’s why AgriFutures Australia invests in research, innovation and learning initiatives that enhance the profitability and sustainability of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

AgriFutures Australia empowers our levy-paying industry participants to shape RD&E priorities, encourage industry uptake of innovation and support our rural industries to adapt to changing environments at operational, market and regulatory levels.

Outcome

Industry participants are confident that their levy investment is delivering value.
Research programs:

  Rice
  Chicken Meat
  Export Fodder
  Honey Bee and Pollination
  Thoroughbred Horses
  Ginger
  Tea Tree Oil
  Pasture Seeds

Smaller levied industries:

  Goat Fibre
  Buffalo
  Kangaroo
  Deer
  Ratite

Industry Advisory Panels

The role of Industry Advisory Panels

AgriFutures Australia currently partners with eight key levied agricultural industries for the delivery of RD&E through Industry Advisory Panels. These panels perform key tasks to guide and assist AgriFutures Australia with investments, including:

1. Advising on the industry requirements for research and development through the development and monitoring of RD&E Plans

2. Advising on proposals for RD&E investment in accordance with the objectives and strategies of
industry-specific RD&E Plans

3. Monitoring, reviewing and advising on research support for the relevant industry

4. Advising on, and assisting in, the dissemination, adoption and commercialisation of the results of RD&E activities.

Industry Advisory Panels are representative of the RD&E programs implemented by AgriFutures Australia. Panel members are selected on a skills-basis and may contribute with capacities in strategic management, governance, industry-specific knowledge, science, technology, leadership
and ethics. AgriFutures Australia encourages diversity through age, gender and geographic location, working with specific industry sectors to foster leadership skills to support succession planning for future panel members.

Industry Advisory Panels typically meet quarterly or as business needs’ require. Panels convene for the purpose of research after proposal planning and assessment in investment areas identified in the RD&E Plan for their individual industry. Members are encouraged to be advocates for their industries, be active in extending research outcomes for their industry, and maintain engagement within rural communities and their business networks to better inform AgriFutures Australia in service delivery.

Levied Industries Capacity Building Program

The Growing Profitability and People and Leadership arenas have come together to deliver a new Levied Industries Capacity Building Program. This program supports recipients who are directly involved with our levied industries. The Levied Industries Capacity Building Program was launched in November 2019 and three opportunities were delivered in 2019-20. They are outlined below:

  Australian Institute Company Director’s Course (AICD)
12 individuals working across our levied industries participated in the five-day AICD Course. The following industry stakeholders who were selected from an application process were: Andrew Hayward (Export Fodder), Angela Urquhart (Rice), Danny Le Feuvre (Honey Bee and Pollination), Dee-Ann Prather (Tea Tree Oil), Guy Cunningham (Pasture Seeds), Guy Hebblewhite (Chicken
Meat), Katherine Balding (Chicken Meat), Kellie Crossley (Rice), Michael Flanagan (Tea Tree Oil), Nicole Christodoulou (Ginger), Georgie Troup (Export Fodder) and Matthew Colvin
(Honey Bee). Total investment: $132,471.95

  evokeAG. attendance and travel subsidy
16 individuals working across our levied industries attended evokeAG.. Attendance and travel was subsidised. The event took place on Tuesday, 18 and Wednesday, 19 February 2020
in Melbourne. Total investment: $32,037.79

  Mentoring Program
AgriFutures Australia together with Ricegrowers Association of Australia (RGA) offered individuals working within the rice industry or another levied industry, the opportunity to participate in a 12-month Mentoring Program to advance their personal and business development via one-on-one mentoring. The following industry stakeholders who were selected from an application process were: Corey Ryan (Export Fodder), Stephen Donohue (Honey Bee and Pollination), Bryce
Riddell (Export Fodder), Ryan Hopcroft (Chicken Meat), Jodie White (Ginger), Tim Bateman (Honey Bee and Pollination), Cameron Collins (Thoroughbred Horses), Alex O’Reilly (Tea Tree Oil), Brendan Missenden (Honey Bee and Pollination), and Cecelia O’Gorman (Thoroughbred Horses).
Total investment (excluding RGA investment): $23,639.00

Rice

Highlights and achievements

1. Independent reviews of the two major investments in the AgriFutures Rice Program – the Australian Rice Partnership breeding program and the Rice Extension project. The review of the breeding program found that partnership between NSW DPI, SunRice and AgriFutures Australia is operating effectively and made key recommendations to drive improvements in the program. These included the implementation of molecular markers and a fully functional database to further improve the performance of varieties released, which will in turn provide more options to growers. These recommendations will become the focus for the program over the next investment period. The Rice Extension review found that the program is held in high regard by many rice growers. The team and its activities are seen to be effective in engaging with, and delivering relevant information to stakeholders.

2. The AgriFutures Rice Program provided development opportunities for those working in the rice industry by announcing travel bursaries of $5,000 for up to five applicants to support attendance at the International Temperate Rice Conference in Brazil or the Rice Technical Working Group in the USA in February 2020.

3. Peter and Renee Burke won the Sunrice Grower of the Year in August 2019 for their outstanding agronomic and business management on the 1280-hectare irrigation farm they own and operate near Jerilderie, NSW.

Summary of program

The GVP for rice in 2019-20 was $102.2 million, down from $174.9 million in 2018-19 due to continued dry conditions that significantly reduced water allocations in the rice production areas of the southern Murray Darling Basin.

During the 2019-20 year the Rice Program conducted independent reviews into two of its largest investments – the Australian Rice Partnership breeding program and the Rice Extension program. These reviews focused on program performance and identified where efficiencies can be made. The reviews will be used to guide further investment made in both rice extension and rice breeding.

The AgriFutures Rice Program provided a number of capacity building opportunities during 2019-20 which align with the Rice Program Five Year RD&E Plan objective “Extension, sustainability and human capital”. Together with RGA the Rice Program supported 10 rice growers to attend evokeAG. in February 2020, allowing an opportunity to see innovative new technology for agriculture first-hand. The Program also released travel bursaries of $5,000 for up to five applicants to support attendance at the International Temperate Rice Conference in Brazil or the Rice Technical Working Group in the USA. Attendees provided their insights and recommendations back to AgriFutures Australia, which ranged from the initiation of long-term rice trials, exploration of genotyping options, to program specific improvements.

The Rice Program is contributing to Rural R7D for Profit project, Smarter Irrigation for Profit (Phase 2). The program of work is tackling the challenge of reduced water availability by focusing on practical, cost effective strategies to improve the water productivity of Australian cropping and pasture irrigators. The project is a partnership between the major irrigation industries of cotton, dairy, sugar, rice and grains, research organisations and farmer groups. Involvement in this project works towards the strategic objective outlined in the Rice Program Five Year RD&E Plan of “Cross-sectorial research required to achieve the Dry Rice 1.5 t/ML water use efficiency target by 2030”.

Deliverable for 2019-20

To improve the productivity and sustainability of the Australian rice industry through ongoing improvement in water use efficiency to deliver gains in on-farm productivity as well contributing to environmental and social sustainability in rice growing areas.

Advisory Panel Members:
  Drew Braithwaite (Chair)
  Michele Groat (Vice Chair)
  Dr Vito Butardo
  Brian Dunn
  Russell Ford
  Laura Kaylock
  Dr Laurie Lewin
  Dr Ben Ovenden
  Lucinda Staley
  Antony Vagg

Total program expenses 2017-18: $3,675,621

Total program expenses 2018-19: $3,679,158

Total program expenses 2019-20: $3,364,233

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22*

PRJ-009805

Next-generation healthy rice

Published: Next generation healthy rice

Under this project, a rapid method for ranking rice genotypes for their starch digestibility properties has been developed. This development has assisted in selecting and breeding low GI, healthy rive varieties that will attract a premium in domestic and international markets.

Rice breeding – varieties and quality improvement.

Cross-sectorial research required to achieve the Dry Rice 1.5 t/ML water use efficiency by 2030.

PRJ-010712

Post Graduate "top-up” Scholarship

M Van Leeuwen

The objective of this project was to measure multiple levels of starch structure in rice and relate those structures to how quickly we digest rice. Adoption of the knowledge from this project could contribute to the rice industries goal of expanding the choice of rice quality types that digest slowly in our local and global markets.

Rice breeding – varieties and quality improvement.

PRJ-011226

Australian Rural Leadership Program 2018- Course 25 Troy Mauger

Published: Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) Scholarship for Course 25 – Troy Mauger

Rice grower and Extension Coordinator for the Rice Extension program, Troy Mauger was awarded the ARLP scholarship for Course 25. Participating in the ARLP has provided Troy the opportunity to obtain additional skills to continue his leadership development and make a valuable contribution to his community.

Extension, sustainability and human capital.

PRJ-010188

Rice Pest and Disease Biosecurity 2

Published: Rice pests and diseases

The project covered a wide range of topics and has some components of immediate relevance to rice producers and commercial agronomists. Other sections of this project involved the evaluation of pesticides that are yet to be registered and legally available for use in rice.

Farm productivity – crops inputs, crop protection and the farming system.

Rice Travel Bursaries 2020:

PRJ-012428

Peter Snell – Australian rice breeder

Published: 7th International Temperate Rice Conference. Pelotas, Brazil 9th to 12th February 2020

PRJ-012418

Christopher Proud – Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Published: Report on travel

to the International Temperate Rice Conference, Brazil, and Technical Rice Working Group, USA

PRJ-012417

Russell Ford – Sunrice Head of Agronomic R&D

Published: 7th International Temperate Rice Conference. Pelotas, Brazil 9th to 12th February 2020

PRJ-012411

Danyon Williams – Graduate agronomist

Published: Australian Rice Industry Capacity Building Travel Bursary

PRJ-012423

Harriet Brickhill – Rice Extension Officer

Published: International Temperate Rice Conference

Travel bursaries each worth $5,000 for five people assisted participants in attending either the International Temperate Rice Conference in Brazil or the Rice Technical Working Group in the USA, with both conferences held in February 2020. The bursaries provided an opportunity for recipients to upskill their knowledge, broaden their networks and improve their general understanding of global rice production systems.

Extension, sustainability and human capital.

* Refers to individual levied industries R&D Plans

Northern Rice

Highlights and achievements

1. The project identified two new fragrant long grains, three new soft-cooking long grains, three new tropical medium grains, and one new low-GI medium grain within the target grain quality classes for northern Australia.

2. The project identified regional impacts on yield and grain quality that will impact variety recommendations to ensure quality requirements are met and farm productivity is maximised.

3. A best practice rice production manual and crop protection guide were published specific for rice production in northern Australia. This was produced by Rice Extension.

Summary of program

Rice production in northern Australia focuses on the development of specialty domestic and international markets, with high quality long grain and fragrant rice, which command premium prices, best suited to the region. This strategy complements the rice industry in the Riverina region of NSW and helps the rice industry manage supply challenges and limits its overall exposure to risk due to climate and markets.

Alongside the opportunities presented through a viable northern rice industry there are also considerable challenges to establishment and development. These include:

  Breeding and selection of suitable varieties that produce high yields of marketable rice

  Understanding the nature of and controlling pests and diseases

  Understanding agronomic issues and

  The positioning of rice in the farming system and adoption of rice farming in northern Australia.

AgriFutures Australia established a concerted program of work focused on these challenges. This program brought together SunRice, Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL), NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to meet the challenges through a coordinated and collaborative research effort.

The RD&E program, that formed the basis of the project, comprised four projects that investigated the following areas, in relation to the development of a rice industry in northern Australia:

A1: Varietal breeding and selection – to deliver market characteristics, e.g. a soft-cooking long grain, soft-cooking fragrant, tropical medium grain and low glycaemic index (GI) varieties.

A2: Pests and disease – focus on northern Australia and identification of disease races for bacterial blight and rice blast.

A3: Agronomy – optimisation of rice yield through establishment and crop nutrition, environmental and best practice management.

A4: Adoption – grower engagement through established farming networks, delivering information packages and developing management options for rice within the northern farming system.

A5: Post-harvest handling – address variability in rice and handling post-harvest including moisture management, transport and storage.

Field experiments for variety evaluation and determination of agronomic best management practice, pest and disease surveys, development of protocols and establishment of facilities for quality testing, and employment of staff and post-doctoral positions for the project was accomplished.

Deliverables for 2019-20

To improve the productivity of the Northern Australia rice industry through ongoing investment in variety evaluation, development of the understanding of the interaction between genotype, environment and management, and identification of key pests and disease and conditions facing incursions.

Project Team:
  John Smith (AgriFutures Australia)
  Melissa Fitzgerald (UQ)
  Gavin Ash (USQ)
  Deb Slinger (NSW DPI)
  Russell Ford (RRAPL/SunRice)
  Peter McDonnell (SunRice)
  Tony Matchett (Savannah Ag)
  Adam Sparks (USQ)
  Keith Pembleton (USQ)
  Venea Dara Daygon (UQ)
  Peter Snell (NSW DPI)
  Alison Gregory (SunRice)
  Ando Radanielson (USQ)

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-20

PRJ-010763

Developing and building capacity

This project was key to field activities and experimentation for the other projects and was responsible for extension within the production regions. The team conducted more than 50 field experiments over the three year period of the project.

Due to a relatively small number of growers, extension was able to consider specific information relating to the grower’s farming system. The advice included farming system development, nutrition management, and chemical management programs. Knowledge passed directly to growers in real time allowed the project to succeed in adopting new techniques for advancement of rice production systems in northern Australia based on information gathered from this project.

Extension, communication and partnership development.

PRJ-010812

Developing high quality rice for Northern Australia

The grain harvested from the wet season was uniformly of superior quality to dry season rice. This was measured for the proportion of broken grains and chalk, which are the two factors that determine price of rice in most international and domestic markets. Moreover, the cooking and eating quality of the wet season rice was much better than the dry season rice, and the difference was significant. This was explained by the different temperatures that occurred when the grain was ripening. In the wet season, the grain ripened during the cooler months of the year, whereas dry season rice ripened in mid-summer. Further, wet season rice accumulated more biomass which probably enabled greater capacity to transport substrates to the grain for the synthesis and deposition of starch and protein.

Rice breeding - varietal and quality improvement.

PRJ-010813

Developing varieties with agronomic integrity/market

In this three-year project, breeding activities were undertaken to evaluate germplasm that was suitable for tropical regions in Northern Australia. The objective was to identify candidate varieties for four categories: (1) soft-cooking fragrant variety, (2) soft-cooking long grain, (3) tropical medium grain and (4) a low glycaemic index (GI) variety.

This project identified nine candidate varieties for the four varietal categories suitable for production in the northern region. Although further testing and evaluation is required to screen these candidate varieties before commercial production, this project has provided a foundation for future rice production.

Rice breeding - varietal and quality improvement.

PRJ-010814

Developing rice growing packages for Tropical North Australia

The project established best management practices for:

  Sowing windows for varieties within the key production regions

  Plant population highlighting the importance for maximum yield and management of disease

  Nitrogen fertiliser application rate and application strategies across both wet and dry season and minimising the risk of runoff that is important for the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The project established critical soil test values for phosphorus, potassium, sulphur.

Key pests and disease were identified.

Crop inputs, crop protection and grain receival.

Chicken Meat

Highlights and achievements

1. The Chicken Meat RD&E Program has invested in a significant project to deliver extension and training for the chicken meat industry. The three-year project with Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries continues to ensure that research outcomes, development of best practice management materials and training are delivered in the right format to the right parts of industry.

2. The Chicken Meat RD&E program has been a long-time supporter of the Australian Poultry Science Symposium (APSS). This is the premier avian science conference hosted in February each year in Sydney. This year, marks 30 years of AgriFutures Australia sponsorship and support. The conference featured many speakers and students working on nutrition, welfare and health and disease projects funded by our Chicken Meat Program.

3. A comprehensive study of current demand drivers for chicken meat and future market opportunities in Australia concluded that chicken meat remains the most popular type of meat served in Australian households. Consumers are satisfied with the eating quality and safety of chicken meat. The demand for chicken meat is not likely to decline in the near future, rather it will continue to grow provided chicken meat continues to offer consumers value for money, versatility and good eating quality in terms of flavour, taste and tenderness.

Summary of program

The Australian chicken meat industry GVP for 2019-20 was $2.78 billion which has increased slightly from $2.72 billion in 2018-19.

Our investments seek to drive productivity through improvements in production efficiency and underpin the social license of the industry through improved animal welfare, environmental and human health outcomes. The Chicken Meat research portfolio is supplemented by an extension and training project that will ensure that research outcomes are delivered to industry.

The Chicken Meat Program Advisory Panel participated in a Strategic Scenario Planning workshop to identify megatrends that could impact the industry in the short, medium, and long term. This exercise has been pivotal in focussing the attention of the Advisory Panel onto key issues for the industry over the next 15 years. This scenario planning was incorporated into the 2019-2022 RD&E Strategy. The key focus of the new Strategy is to increase knowledge and understanding that fosters an innovative adaptive and valuable chicken meat industry.

The Chicken Meat Panel visited the Rockhampton Campus of the University of Central Queensland and the Sandy Bay Campus of the University of Tasmania to further develop existing relationships with key researchers in the industry as well as forge new connections.

The Chicken Meat Program is contributing to the “Closing the Loop: Black Soldier Fly technology to convert agricultural waste”. This is a Rural R&D Profit project which will develop safe high quality, low-cost fertiliser and soil improvers and is a major cross industry collaboration with the Australian Pork, Eggs, Dairy, Fisheries and Meat Processing industries.

Deliverables for 2019-20

To achieve significant benefits to the Australian chicken meat industry within its available resources through the implantation of targeted and high-impact RD&E projects.
Additional resourcing was identified as a key priority for the Chicken Meat Program. The Program is now overseen by a 2.6 FTE research management team.

  In 2019-20 an operational review was commissioned to look at the Chicken Meat Program to understand the opportunities and constraints

  Program Management resourcing was identified as a constraint to growth. Resourcing was increased from 1.2 FTE to 2.6 FTE looking after the program.

The Chicken Meat Program delivered key reviews to the Australian chicken meat industry that captured the key research conducted over the past 10 years, summarised the current body of scientific knowledge and identified knowledge gaps of importance to the industry.

These reviews covered:
  Litter, aerosols and food safety pathogens

  Rodent control

  Food safety interventions and

  The nutrient content of Australian feed ingredients.

Where these projects also delivered benefits to the wider poultry industry, they were co-funded by Australian Eggs. An important new four-year investment partnership involving the AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been established. It will deliver extension and training to enable the sustainable growth of the chicken meat industry. This enabling project has started to develop materials and deliver training to support the adoption of a R&D outcomes in the industry. This project will continue to be an important delivery strategy for the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $4,196,902

Total program expenses 2018–19: $4,725,532

Total program expenses 2019-20: $6,147,336

Advisory Panel Members:

  Guy Hebblewhite (Chair)
  Dr Greg Underwood (Vice Chair)
  Dr Sheridan Alfirevich
  Katherine Balding
  Dr Peter Chrystal
  Jason Fry
  Dr Anthony Keyburn
  Susy Klein
  Georgina Townsend

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-010184

Resilient plants for free range chicken meat farms

Free range chicken meat production continues to grow in market share (15%, ACMF 2020). To obtain free range accreditation in Australia, many programs stipulate that palatable vegetation must be available to poultry on the range at all times. However, there are difficulties maintaining herbage cover on the outdoor range due to bird activity (pecking and scratching). The challenge is to provide palatable vegetation all year round.

This project sought to increase meat chicken welfare on free range farms by utilising resilient forage plants on the range. There were two outcomes: the first was to identify those forage plants with increased resilience to chicken activity resulting in less bare ground exposed on the outdoor range. The second outcome was to demonstrate that more chickens go outdoors and exhibit a wider range of natural behaviours due to increased usage of the outdoor range area with resilient herbage cover.

Improving Food Safety of Australian Chicken Meat.

PRJ-010365

PhD - To investigate the effect of supplemental amino acids of broiler performance

The Australian chicken meat industry is extremely interested in low protein diets which, axiomatically, contain high inclusions of an increasing range of synthetic amino acids.

A fundamental issue to the development of low protein diets is how efficiently broiler chickens utilise synthetic amino acids. This project investigated the effect of protein reduction in commercial broiler chicken rations with incorporation of de-oiled rice bran (DORB) and supplementation of limiting amino acids (valine, isoleucine, and/or tryptophan) with ration formulation either on total amino acid (TAA) or standardized ileal digestible amino acids (SIDAA).

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

PRJ-010446

Coordinating the development of Biosecurity DVDs for the Australian Chicken Meat

Published: Video - Feed Mill Biosecurity guidelines

This project produced a series of training DVDs/videos that present the biosecurity requirements and appropriate risk minimisation measures relevant to all sectors of the commercial meat chicken industry. The videos produced included processing plant induction/training, general biosecurity, hatchery biosecurity and feedmill biosecurity of food borne pathogens. Although many of the biosecurity practices relevant for each of these objectives are shared, the emphasis and approaches taken may be quite different. The outcome was the delivery of four biosecurity training DVDs/videos for all sectors of the chicken meat industry.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-010552

Litter, Aerosols and Food Safety Pathogens – Summarising a Decade of Research

This project has assisted the poultry industry in having a resource document that will enable them to make better decisions on the management of both Salmonella and Campylobacter levels on farm and in the processing plant.

It also demonstrates the quantitative approach (enumeration of pathogens) that can be adopted on farm which in turn can enable better management of pathogen numbers (on farm) with positive impacts to end products.

It also assists industry to be better able to address issues related to the environmental movement of pathogens in and around farms and it is a resource document for decision makers both at an industry level and external to the industry (or government) as well as a resource for training and dissemination at a farmer level.

Improving Food Safety of Australian Chicken Meat.

PRJ-010603

Developing visual litter management extension resources for meat chicken growers

Published: A series of animations for industry

This project provided a range of visual best practice litter management how to information tools for meat chicken growers through a series of short videos and a litter shed guide.

The videos demonstrated key concepts that impact on litter through animation.

It also demonstrated strategies other meat chicken growers have implemented to maintain dry and friable litter in different situations.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-010623

Utilisation of synthetic amino acids by poultry

The core of this project has been to determine the requirements for (synthetic) amino acids, impacts of feed access on their utilisation, their postenteral availability and retention in tissue pools. An essential objective has been the assessment of 12 synthetic amino acids in the context of low protein diets.

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

PRJ-010721

2018 Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship - Emma O’Flaherty

Eggs laid outside an optimal nesting system pose a major productivity problem, but the issue can be mitigated if a holistic approach is taken to managing a bird’s environment. Ms O’Flaherty, detailed the practical steps involved in this holistic approach, and revealed opportunities for the industry to increase hatchability and decrease chance of contamination in production.

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

PRJ-010761

Chicken Meat Program Development Services

The role of the Program Development Officer is to improve the quality and efficiency of the proposal development, review and contracting process. The project improved proposal rejections from 73% rejected proposals down to 29%. This was through the role providing guidance and advice to research to ensure that project proposals aligned with priorities for the industry.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-010762

Chicken Meat Extension Services

Developing a novel approach to extension of research in the chicken meat industry through a service delivery model based on an industry stakeholder review, a range of communications products and interactive workshops.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-010953

Electrolyte supplementation to alleviate the adverse effects of severe heat stress

This project was a continuation of a previous project and investigated the affect of electrolytes in the drinking water of meat chickens exposed to shed temperatures of 32 degree celsius, which is equivalent to an outside temperature of 40 degree celsius that some of the major chicken growing regions experience. It included controlled studies, as well as application on a commercial farm.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-010965

Review of rodent control for the Australian Chicken Meat and Egg Industries

The results of this research directly benefit producers, the Australian chicken meat industry body and the Australian egg industry body by allowing them to understand the potential risks associated with current rodent control programs and by providing them with key product information that can be used to improve the management of rodents on farm.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-011003

Current and potential food safety interventions for meat chicken production

This project gathered evidence-based data via a review of current food safety interventions in chicken meat production. The review included:

  Information in interventions currently available in Australia

  Those not available in Australia

  Potential new interventions under development

  Patent information

  Government report

  Policy statements

  Conference proceedings etc.

This research identifies existing and emerging research applications that will be of most benefit to the Australian chicken meat industry. This will help inform the future investment decisions of the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program and will also provide recommendations for the most promising food safety interventions for potential adoption by the chicken meat industry in Australia.

Improving Food Safety of Australian chicken meat.

PRJ-011023

Antimicrobial stewardship verification in the Australian Chicken Meat Industry

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when organisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses develop the ability to stop treatments designed to remove them (such as antibiotics against bacteria) from being effective. The focus of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is to safeguard the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents by ensuring they are used appropriately.

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

PRJ-011301

Mass Disposal Preparedness Project

The disposal of infected material is a core component of the process of recovery from an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD). Prior planning will make for a much more structured and efficient decision-making process in the event of an EAD. The recommendations of AUSVETPLAN for preplanning of disposal of animal carcasses, materials, equipment, products and by products in the event of an EAD that may occur in the poultry industries has not yet been actioned. This project has developed the systems and plans that are required to meet AUSVETPLAN recommendations.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-011475

Scholarship – Ashlee Morgan

This project identified the possible causes of skills shortages in the poultry sector. It investigated the reasons behind the lack of youth interest in pursuing a career

in the poultry sector and in agriculture in general.

The project used both a qualitative and quantitative approach to identify student’s attitudes towards the poultry industry and potential barriers to entry into the industry. This project helps the industry to develop strategies to address the skills to ensure the sustainability of Australia’s poultry industry.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-011528

Reviewing the Solar Photovoltaic Assessment Tool for the Chicken Meat Industry

Published: Self assessment tool - Solar PV assessment tool for chicken farmers

All Energy has built a comprehensive tool for the red meat industry covering PV solar as well as thermal energy and storage under MLA project P.PSH.0867 (current).

This tool draws on equipment data and costing databases and decades of experience in designing renewable energy plants with cost benefit analysis. Through this process, one of the large valueadds was to provide prebuilt scenarios that users could quickly use to visualise their energy usage and energy saving options. In 2014, AgriFutures Australia commissioned a solar PV assessment tool to allow growers a first pass assessment of the financial viability at their farm; this project proposes to review this tool to maximise the value to the Australian industry.

This project updates the industry’s knowledge of solar PV and the feasibility at Australian chicken meat farms, plus expands the tool into thermal energy and energy storage. It also increases the adoption of solar PV and concentrated solar in the industry as well as reduces the operating costs and emissions and improves bird welfare in an economically viable way. It achieves these goals with minimised (targeting zero) capital outlay by the industry. A broader objective is to further disseminate the economic viability of solar PV and other energy options to chicken meat producers, and by addressing the identified objectives, assist in the adoption and uptake by industry.

Develop and implement measures to improve industry’s impact on the environment.

PRJ-011564

Review of the Nutrient Content of Australian Feed Ingredients

Published Project Summary: Review of Nutrient Content of Australian Feed Ingredients

This project compiled current Australian and global data in a review of the nutrient specifications of commonly used feed ingredients within the Australian broiler industry from databases provided by source companies, including Evonik, Adisseo, FINA, Brazil (Rostag-no), INRA and data published in the scientific literature (specifically Wayne Bryden and Rosalina Angel) to assist Australian broiler integrator nutritionists with diet formulation.

This project also highlighted areas within the compilation of nutrient specifications for commonly used Australian feed ingredients where Australian data was lacking or inconsistent to identify key areas for development and guide future research.

This review also assessed the range and variation in nutrient specifications between databases, determined the extent of variation between Australian and global specifications, and identified the key sources of variation.

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

PRJ-012046

Review of Chicken Meat Program operations

The project undertook an independent assessment of the overall operation of the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program.

The project assisted in defining the structure and resources required to support the operations and growth of the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program.

Improve chicken meat production through the whole supply chain.

Export Fodder

Highlights and achievements

1. The National Oat Breeding Program delivered a new hay variety ‘Koorabup’ which was released in spring 2019. The new variety has an excellent combination of disease resistance and a superior level of septoria resistance. Gaining access to new hay varieties with improved disease resistance helps growers increase their productivity and profitability.

2. The Export Fodder Program has made two important new investments to benefit the industry:

  Chemical Residue Monitoring for the Fodder Industry. This project will provide advice to the fodder industry on changing market requirements for a range of food safety parameters and assisting industry to consider actions to address any market access concerns subsequently arising.

  Yield and quality assessment of dual purpose wheat for the export hay industry. This project aims to provide growers, processors and exporters with hay yield and quality data of new and potential awnless wheat in order to diversify hay production, increase hay yield, control problem and contaminant grass weeds, provide a pathway to market and increase exports.

3. The Export Fodder Advisory Panel appointed a new Panel Member – Zane Banson. Zane is Chief Financial Officer with Wingara Ag Limited and comes with over 10 years’ experience in CFO Advisory, Company Secretarial, and Financial Reporting from KPMG, Exxon Mobil and boutique advisory firms. He is driven by the pursuit of opportunities in exporting quality Australian produce in the fodder and meat industry, with a particular focus on supply chains.

Summary of program

The GVP for Export Fodder in 2019-20 was $484.9 million, up from $427.5 million in 2018-19.
Over the 2019-20 year the Export Fodder Program has made significant progress in a number of areas. In particular the Program has established an Expression of Interest (EOI) for commercial breeding companies to continue the National Oat Breeding Program. This EOI has been held in conjunction with GRDC and South Australian Research and Development Institute and is due to conclude in September 2020.

The Export Fodder Program also held a very successful Open Call for projects. Projects that align with the industry’s five-year Strategic Plan were sought, in particular those that aligned with Objectives 4, 5 and 6.

The program invested in a number of new projects:

  PRJ-012613 Improved oat varieties for hay production 2020

  PRJ-012002 Chemical Residue Monitoring for the Fodder Industry

  PRJ-011968 Fodder Safe

  PRJ-011946 Yield and quality assessment of dual purpose wheat for the export hay industry

The Advisory Panel has farewelled Sean Blechynden and thanks him for his contribution to the Export Fodder Panel over the last three years. After a competitive Open Call process, Zane Banson has been appointed to the Panel to replace Sean. We look forward to Zane’s contribution over the coming years of his term.

Deliverables for 2019-20
Implementation of targeted and high impact RD&E projects to achieve far-reaching benefits to the export fodder industry.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $791,799

Total program expenses 2018–19: $1,159,468

Total program expenses 2019–20: $1,334,814

Advisory Panel Members:

  Peter Baker (Chair)
  Zane Banson
  Sean Blechynden
  Pat Guerin
  Andrew Hayward
  Munro Patchett
  Lucinda Staley
  Steve Woods

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-011967

Improved oat varieties for hay production 2018-19, finishing in 2020

Advanced breeding lines were promoted to yield trials based on hay and grain productivity, hay and grain quality, disease resistance, and agronomic traits. The new hay variety, Koorabup, was launched in spring 2019. Commercial seed was available to growers for the 2020 growing season. This new variety has an excellent combination of disease resistance and a superior level of septoria resistance compared to current hay varieties.

Three advanced breeding lines were selected for breeder seed development. Lines 07079-9, 07423-18, and 08131-28 all have varying combinations of disease resistance, hay yield potential and hay quality.

Advanced breeding lines selected for variety release will be protected by PBR and the commercialising partner will have first option for commercialising the new varieties.

Oaten Hay Breeding program

Hay agronomy

Chemical usage integrity

Fodder analysis

PRJ-010828

Export fodder workplace safety standards

Published: Final Report Summary

This project was designed to assess workplace health and safety (WHS) problems and issues within the Australian export fodder processing industry with a focus on identifying key areas of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) risk and the development of strategies to alleviate/mitigate these risks.

Work, health and safety

PRJ-012002

Chemical residue monitoring for the fodder industry

Published: New Investment Project Summary

This project provided advice to the fodder industry on changing market requirements for a range of food safety parameters.

Chemical usage integrity

PRJ-011946

Yield and quality assessment of dual purpose wheat for the export hay industry

Published: New Investment Project Summary

This project aimed to provide advice to growers, processors and exporters with hay yield and quality data of new and potential wheat varieties.

Hay agronomy

Fodder analysis

Honey Bee and Pollination

Highlights and achievements

1. Increasing industry leadership opportunities through the initiation of the Industry Development grants program covering strategic, succession and governance projects. These industry development grants will benefit the industry through driving honey quality assurance outcomes for beekeepers, developing high level governance capability in Australian Honey Bee Industry Council members, and additional pollen metabarcoding testing to increase identification of pollen.

2. In July 2019, the industry held a workshop to consider ‘Driving production through investigating floral resource access across Australia’. The workshop and report provide a comprehensive study into the floral access for beekeepers across states and territories to drive engagement and enable greater access to these resources.

3. Lifting beekeeper profitability through the investigation of Leptospermum spp. active honeys. This research has investigated Leptospermum honey known for its potential as an antibacterial – with a view to determine the impact of plant variety and location source on the bioactivity of the honey.

Summary of program

The GVP for Honey was $138.6 million, up from $129.3 million in 2018-19.

The Honey Bee and Pollination Program provided support for beekeepers as a result of the bushfires and continued drought. This has been achieved with the development of a Bushfire Recovery Plan which assists with information about the management of hives post bushfires and the scarcity of floral resources during drought.

The plan has been developed for use by industry to prioritise funding for further R&D to aid beekeepers recover from bushfires. The program received additional funding through the Promotion of the Importance of Bees project from the Commonwealth Government, and the Advisory Panel established priority R&D for this program.

Key areas of research in this project over the next three years are the development of sensory technology for bee hive diseases, promotion of R&D, and the further work into honey bee gut bacteria and the impact on honey bee disease. A research open call with a focus on further investigation into honey characterisation and building an industry-valued database of honey characteristics was conducted with the Composition of Australian honey project funded through NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $620,595

Total program expenses 2018-19: $932,056

Total program expenses 2019–20: $604,656

Deliverables for 2019-20

To support RD&E that will secure a productive, sustainable and more profitable Australian beekeeping industry and secure the pollination of Australia’s horticultural and agricultural crops.

Advisory Panel Members:

  Dr Doug Somerville (Chair)
  Danny Le Fervue (Vice Chair)
  Tiffane Bates
  Prof Saul Cunningham
  James Kershaw
  Dr Diana Leemon
  Samuel Malfroy
  Annelies McGaw
  Ashley Zamek

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-011631

Review of investment in Honey Bee Program

Published: An Economic Evaluation of AgriFutures’ Investment in the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program (2015-2019)

This project assessed the benefit-cost ratio of 17 RD&E projects across the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program. This gave an estimated net present value of $8.85 million, and a benefit-cost ratio of approximately 4.1 to 1.

Promote extension, communication and capacity building.

PRJ-009186

Active Australia Leptospermum honey: New sources and their bioactivity

Published: Active Australian Leptospermum Honey: New sources and their bioactivity

This large, systematic analysis of Australian Leptospermum honey provides a rigorous evidence base for the value of Australian Leptospermum honey as a therapeutic agent that is as effective as manuka honey against bacteria. The outcomes of this research are the location on Leptospermum spp. and differences in activity between varieties.

Increase the productivity and profitability of beekeepers.

PRJ-011385

Honey Bee and Pollination Program Communications 2018-2020

This project delivered over ten media outputs and drove media opportunities for the program.

Promote extension, communication and capacity building.

PRJ-011925

Strategic Industry Workshop Published: Strategic Industry Workshop: Improving floral resource access for beekeepers

Published Fact Sheet: Management of bee nutrition in drought and fire affected areas

Floral resource access has been identified as the industry’s number one priority by the peak industry body, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC). In response to this priority, the AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Program worked with AHBIC to design a solutions-focussed workshop with clear deliverables that were to be of equal value to commercial beekeepers and policy makers. This workshop report outlines strategic actions, opportunities and potential policy changes required for improving floral resource access.

The final report for this project has delivered an outcome that has seen industry and government refer to the document for consideration.

Increase understanding of the role of flora in honey bee management.

PRJ-012495

Bushfire Recovery Workshop Published: AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Program R&D Annual Report

Published Plan: Bushfire Recovery Action Plan

Published Summary

This project has delivered a report and summary for industry to utilise and promote recovery from the 2019-2020 bushfires.

Increase the productivity and profitability of beekeepers.

Thoroughbred Horses

Highlights and achievements

1. The thoroughbred breeding industry contributes $1.16 billion to the Australian economy. A landmark report: The Measurement of the economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry, highlighted the value of the industry to the Australian economy and will become the basis for future investment. It is the first report published from the thoroughbred horses levy.

2. Increased breeding outcomes for the thoroughbred breeding industry through development of quick tests that will help breeders make informed decisions prior to breeding and will reduce the spread and impact of disease. This continued investment in research addresses issues from reproductive diseases through to the development of rapid tests, to improve stall side and farm management.

3. Delivery of welfare knowledge and research outcomes around the welfare of thoroughbred horses from birth to racing. This ground-breaking research, based on survey and industry data, outlines five recommendations for future RD&E to improve the wellbeing of young horses before they commence racing.

Summary of program

The GVP for Thoroughbred breeding in 2019-20 was $451.5 million, up from $428.3 million in 2018-19.

2019-20 has been a year of consolidation for the Thoroughbred Horses Program with two final reports published: Measurement of economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry and Australian thoroughbreds from birth to racing. These were both commissioned specifically to meet priority industry needs.

The Thoroughbred Horses Program has continued to invest funds in projects which align with the Interim Thoroughbred Horses RD&E Five Year Plan (2017-2022). This includes contributing to the Thoroughbred Welfare Initiative being coordinated by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

Both AgriFutures Australia and The Thoroughbred Horses Program Advisory Panel have taken the opportunity in 2019-20 to meet with industry stakeholders in the Hunter Valley, NSW, and Nagambie, VIC in October 2019 to gain a clearer understanding of the issues facing the thoroughbred breeding industry. The Advisory Panel utilises these occasions to ensure that the program and the Interim Thoroughbred Horses RD&E Five Year Plan (2017-2022) remain relevant to the industry.

Deliverables for 2019-20
  Advancements in detection and treatment of diseases and parasites in breeding horses

  Improve jockey safety through developing concussion recovery

  Understand the breeding and racing industry horse movements through the development of surveys

  Initiate development of early pregnancy detection and stallion fertility tools

  Consider environmental effects on breeding horses.

Advisory Panel Members:

  Prof Nigel Perkins (Chair)
  Dr Catherine Chicken (Vice Chair)
  Derek Field
  Annelies McGaw
  Thomas Rielley
  Jacqueline Stewart
  Dr Craig Suann

Total program expenses 2017-18: $342,189

Total program expenses 2018-19: $904,931

Total program expenses 2019-20: $981,825

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-011162

Measurement of economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry

Published: Measurement of economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry

This project identified the value of the industry to the Australian economy.

Industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research

PRJ-011251

Wellbeing from Pregnancy to Racing-Horse Demographics

Published: Australian racing from birth to racing

The outcome of this project identified key research activities for future investment.

Continue to improve breeding outcomes and foal health and development

PRJ-011357

Post graduate Scholarship – University of Adelaide – Laura Nath

To be published

This project identified structural changes to the heart muscle that could increase the likelihood of cardiac arrhythmia in horses.

Reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses

PRJ-011745

Peer review of Measurement of economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry

The peer review gave strength to the measurement of economic impact of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry report and enabled the use of the report by the industry.

Industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research.

Ginger

Highlights and achievements

1. Options to increase the genetic diversity of ginger and future proof the Australian ginger industry against pests and diseases were identified. The range of options includes traditional breeding to develop new varieties, importation of potentially resistant varieties from overseas, biocontrols, mutation breeding and polyploids. The Ginger Advisory Panel is now exploring how these options can be further investigated and implemented.

2. The Ginger Advisory Panel welcomed two new Panel Members. Kylie Templeton is Commercial Director and third generation farmer at Templeton Ginger Pty Ltd. Kylie is responsible for the logistics of the business, liaising with wholesale agents, managing sales as well as marketing for the Templeton Ginger brand. Kylie brings extensive knowledge of the ginger industry to the Advisory Panel. Dr Jo White is a ginger grower with a background in research. Jo has over 15 years’ experience in agricultural research programs, including 10 years’ experience in the field of plant pathology of broad acre summer crops. Jo has a keen interest in aiding the ginger industry to develop and deliver on-ground practical research solutions which improve productivity and profitability for growers.

3. Templeton Ginger has been recognised for its biosecurity efforts by winning the 2020 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award, presented at the ABARES Outlook Conference in Canberra. Templeton Ginger implemented strict biosecurity protocols with the adoption of AgriFutures funded research to help combat Pythium, a disease threat with potential to decimate the ginger industry.

Summary of program

The GVP for Ginger in 2019-20 was $51.1 million, up from $50.8 million in 2018-19.

The Ginger Program has invested in a number of projects to deliver against the objectives outlined in the industry RD&E plan. New projects include:

  PRJ-011740 Ginger Extension Coordination Project

This project, which is now being delivered by the Australian Ginger Industry Association, aligns with the industry objective: “Encourage industry engagement – communicate research outputs, assist industry with research adoption, build industry capacity and develop investment and implementation partnerships”.

  PRJ-011849 Chemical Minor Use Permit Research

This project, which focuses on key chemical control needs of the ginger industry aligns with the objective: “Drive on-farm productivity – improve industry pest and disease management, harness innovative technology and facilitate adoption of clean certified seed”.

  PRJ-011522 Ginger Ninja: Automating disease detection in seed ginger stock

Aiming to automate disease detection in ginger rhizomes, this project also aligns with the objective: “Drive on-farm productivity – improve industry pest and disease management, harness innovative technology and facilitate adoption of clean certified seed”.

The Ginger Advisory Panel is also working on further options to increase genetic diversity in the ginger industry. novel findings that include a range of options for ginger such as: traditional breeding to develop new varieties, importation of potentially resistant varieties from overseas, biocontrols, mutation breeding and polyploids were identified in a recently completed project.
The Ginger Advisory Panel also farewelled Ric Stevens and thanked him for his contribution during his term on the Advisory Panel. In his place the Panel welcomed two new Members – Kylie Templeton and Dr Jo White.

Deliverables for 2019-20

To provide RD&E support to a sustainable, growing and prosperous ginger industry supplying product of the highest quality that is strongly sought-after by discerning consumers in Australia and around the world.

Advisory Panel Members:

  Nicole Christodoulou (Chair)
  Ethan Graham
  Jason Keating
  Scott Kirkwood
  Dr Mike Smith
  Lucinda Staley
  Ric Stevens
  Kylie Templeton
  Dr Jo White

Total program expenses 2017-18: $328,872

Total program expenses 2018-19: $288,426

Total program expenses 2019-20: $320,165

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-011612

Improving ginger to future proof the industry against pests and diseases

Published Final Report Summary: Improving ginger to futureproof the industry against pests and diseases

This project indicated that there were options to increase the genetic diversity and future proof the Australian ginger industry against pests and diseases. The range of options includes traditional breeding to develop new varieties, importation of potentially resistant varieties from overseas, biocontrols, mutation breeding and polyploids. These options need to be further explored.

Drive on-farm productivity

Lift the demand for Australian ginger

PRJ-010755

Ginger Development and Extension

The communications and extension program disseminates information on industry research to ginger levy payers and stakeholders. The program delivered

10 communication and engagement events attended by 302 people, including five R&D technical meetings (a forum for growers and researchers), two Australian Ginger Industry Field Days with more than 90% of Australian producers in attendance.

The clean seed program delivered a source of planting material for growers to individually propagate and multiply with 10,000 plantlets supplied to industry.

The food safety program delivered three Freshcare Food Safety and Quality Version 4 workshops to 39 ginger growers representing 21 farm businesses in October and November 2018.

Encourage industry engagement

Lift the demand for Australian ginger

Drive on-farm productivity

PRJ-011740

Ginger extension coordination project

This project aimed to improve the adoption of improved planting material and enhanced pre and post-harvest management practices

Drive on-farm productivity

PRJ-011627

Site-specific weed control for ginger cropping systems

This project aimed to improve weed control for ginger growers, using artificial intelligence for weed detection, precision herbicide delivery and an evaluation of alternative weed control opportunities.

Drive on-farm productivity

PRJ-011522

Ginger Ninja: Automated disease detection in seed ginger stock

This project aimed to develop and demonstrate an automated vision system that is capable of robustly identifying signs of Fusarium in seed ginger stock.

Drive on-farm productivity

Tea Tree Oil

Highlights and achievements

1. After being introduced to blockchain technology at evokeAG. 2019, the AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program Advisory Panel funded a project to develop a blockchain solution for the tea tree oil industry.

The successful development involved the input from a number of tea tree oil producers, manufacturers and resellers to ensure a workable system. Establishing an unbreakable traceability of pure tea tree oil from farm to the consumer is vital for quality assurance in the market.

2. AgriFutures Australia has begun three new projects following requests from tea tree growers for more R&D into weeds, nutrition, pests and disease management. These new projects will scope solutions to improved sustainable plantation management practices.

3. Cloning new tea tree cultivars has halved the time to match the market demand for high quality tea tree oil. The Tea Tree Oil Breeding Program is delivering new cultivars with higher yield, disease resistance and quality oil. The development of a system of clonal production allows growers to plant the new varieties sooner than the current seedling production system.

Summary of program

The GVP for Tea Tree Oil in 2019-20 was $40.8 million, which is up from $40.6 million in 2018-19.

The AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program objectives are to improve the supply, increase the demand and to provide effective extension of R&D outputs.

Three new scoping studies will assess the most sustainable options for weed, nutrition and pest and disease management in tea tree plantations.

New clonal propagation techniques will allow quicker uptake of new higher yielding cultivars with better oil quality from the reinvigorated breeding program.

Engagement with regulatory bodies globally will increase demand with the opening of export market opportunities. The safety and efficacy of tea tree oil is being promoted with the introduction of traceability, analysis of samples, and a widespread survey of users.

A new project will collate the safety and efficacy of tea tree oil R&D results in an easy to read format for consumers and present formulation options for new manufacturers.

Deliverables for 2019-20

To improve the productivity and sustainability of the Australian tea tree oil industry through reducing barriers in the market and improved production system with the development of new varieties.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $443,814

Total program expenses 2018–19: $425,808

Total program expenses 2019–20: $543,081

Advisory Panel Members:

  Michael Flanagan (Chair)
  Dr Gavin Ash
  Phillip Butlin
  Digby Growns
  Gae Plunkett
  Dee-Ann Prather
  Prof Jeromy Vanclay

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

Contribution to the CRC-P for Cloning tea tree to produce low methyl eugenol

Published Final Report: Contribution to the CRC-P for Cloning tea tree to produce low methyl eugenol

Developed a clonal production system for tea tree to halve the time for new high yielding cultivars with low methyl eugenol to be available to supply the demand for high quality tea tree oil.

The development of these clonal techniques will reduce the time to market for new, higher value cultivars.

Improving supply

PRJ-011626

Communication of research findings to tea tree oil industry levy payers

Published Final Report: Communication of research findings to tea tree oil industry levy payers

Effective communication and extension have been conducted throughout the industry from producers to end users around the world. Developments in market supply and demand and regulatory changes have also been monitored.

The tea tree pesticide guide has been updated, monthly newsletters published and the annual field day, held at Casino, NSW in October 2019. There has been regular contact with industry and feedback to the Program Advisory Panel.

The final report describes the delivery of one on one interaction, field days, newsletters, website content, a literature database and social media posts. This enables communication to a broad range of stakeholders from tea tree oil growers, manufacturers and consumers.

Extension, sustainability and human capital

PRJ-012032

Operationalising a breeding management system for tea tree

Published Final Report: Operationalising a breeding management system for Tea Tree

The new breeding management system adopted by the Tea Tree Breeding Program allows for the assessment of large historical datasets for the selection of parents with higher yields, oil content and oil quality. This will lead to higher genetic gains.

Better parents are now being selected for crossing and so new cultivars with higher yields, higher quality and disease resistance

will become available.

Improving supply

PRJ-011952

Block Chain Traceability for Tea Tree Oil

Published Final Report: Blockchain Traceability for Tea Tree Oil 1

Industry representatives attended a workshop to improve their understanding of blockchain and assessed blockchain to be the unbreakable solution to traceability of the pure tea tree oil supply chain. Further development of the blockchain system is recommended.

The final report is being used to encourage uptake from producers, manufacturers and marketers.

Increasing demand

PRJ-012315

Block Chain Traceability for Tea Tree Oil Part 2

Published Final Report: Traceability for Tea Tree Oil Part 2

Industry representatives helped build a minimal blockchain system to demonstrate, educate and encourage adoption and further development in the tea tree oil industry. The system provides complete traceability of pure tea tree oil from the farm, assuring high quality and safety to the end user.

The final report is being used to encourage uptake from producers, manufactuers and marketers.

Increasing demand

PRJ-011624

Published: Chiral testing of commercial Tea tree oil samples for adulteration

The health and safety of tea tree oil forms the basis of this project. The latest annual report describes how manufacturers are being educated on the correct chemical analysis of tea tree oil and the reduced efficacy and safety of using adulterated product.

Increasing demand

Pasture Seeds

Highlights and achievements

1. AgriFutures Australia has been working hard to provide producers with the knowledge to identify and escalate potential exotic lucerne viruses. The research has investigated threat risk analysis and produced identification documents along with a contingency plan to be adopted by the Commonwealth Government agency responsible for plant biosecurity.

2. A key focus for the program has been solving the problems of harvesting subterranean clover and medic crops through the development of a subterranean clover and medic harvester. The research team will continue to investigate synergies between subterranean clover and other crops and trial engineering modifications to enhance subterranean clover and medic harvesting.

3. Innovative research on developing a DNA identification tool to identify and quantify Lucerne Seed Wasp, (LSW) and parisitoid numbers in soil, harvest samples and seed samples has been commissioned. This research will deliver outcomes that will allow producers to understand levels and impacts of LSW in their crops.

Summary of program

The GVP for Pasture Seeds in 2019-20 was $44.6 million, up from $42.7 million in 2018-19.
The Pasture Seed Program has continued to engage with the pasture seed industry. The Advisory Panel travelled to Keith, SA to participate in the Lucerne Australia field day. The field day included a visit to AgriFutures Australia-funded irrigation and lucerne seed production trials in the region.

This visit provided an opportunity to meet with the executive of Lucerne Australia.
The Program has continued to focus on LSW - a major pest to lucerne seed production. The Program will see further investment in the research of this issue through commissioning the development of a LSW and parisitoid DNA identification test.

Understanding the size and significance of the pasture seed industry has been a priority in 2019-20. The Program invested in a project to determine the size, scope and location of the industry. The results of the project will enable targeted extension of program outcomes and ensure industry participants have access to research commissioned by the Program.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $464,590
Total program expenses 2018–19: $487, 922
Total program expenses 2019–20: $386,907

Advisory Panel Members:

  Lisa Anderson (Chair)
  Joe Cook (Vice Chair)
  David Brown
  Brian Field
  Annelies McGaw
  Dr Mary-Jane Rogers

Deliverables for 2019-20

To enhance productivity and sustainability of the pasture seeds industry through researching pests and diseases, improving variety knowledge and selection for the industry, and developing new technology to address ongoing production concerns within the industry.

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives in 2017-22

PRJ-009839

Improved subterranean clover seed production from multiple disease resistance

Published: Improved subterranean clover seed production from multiple disease resistance

Published: Project summary

One approach to combating diseases is to breed resistant cultivars. However, prior to this project, little was known about the genetics and diversity for resistance to the four most important diseases of subterranean clover; viz. the soil-borne root rot diseases caused by Pythium and Phy-tophthora and the foliage diseases rust (Uromyces) and clover scorch (Kabatiella).

This project has identified many new host resistances as well as molecular markers closely linked to genes and QTLs controlling resistance.

Sustainable certified temperate pasture seed production.

Building industry capability and capacity.

PRJ-009751

Potential exotic virus threats to lucerne seed production in Australia

Published: Potential exotic virus threats to lucerne seed production in Australia

Published: Alfalfa dwarf disease Draft Contingency Plan

Published: Fact Sheet

Alfalfa dwarf disease (ADD) is causing major economic loss in lucerne (Medicago sativa) production in Argentina. Five different viruses are known to be associated with this disease. Alfalfa leaf curl virus (ALCV) is the most likely key virus, leading to severe symptoms and yield losses. There is a risk of accidental introduction of ALCV into Australia. Potential pathways of ALCV entry are through viruliferous aphids or infected host plants. Biosecurity measures should be put in place to prevent its entry. Grower vigilance and early detection will be key to keeping the industry safe from ADD.

This contingency plan delivers the information available as of October 2018 on disease epidemiology, virus di-agnostic methods, and potential control measures to assist with an appropriate biosecurity response in case of an ADD incursion into Australia. ADD is caused by a mixed infection of lucerne with up to five different viruses that may pose a potential threat to the Australian lucerne seed and hay industry.

The outcomes provide industry and government with a clear direction if there is an incursion of an exotic lucerne virus.

Connectivity and communication.

Production and processing efficiency and profitability.

Building industry capability and capacity.

Goat Fibre

Highlights and achievements

Providing new guidelines about how to align Australian sustainable goat fibre production with international market expectations. The new guidelines provide timely guidance for Australian goat fibre producers using sustainable methods to achieve good animal health and welfare, social welfare and environmental stewardship outcomes.

Summary of program

The GVP for goat fibre in 2019-20 was $1.5 million, up from $1.4 million in 2018-19. The AgriFutures Goat Fibre Program has focused on providing new information to mohair and cashmere producers in the areas of animal health and welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, work health and safety and compliance in the management system.

Consumers of goat fibre products are increasingly interested in the origin of the products and the methods employed to produce goat fibre. They are seeking assurance that fibre is produced in a sustainable manner.

Future RD&E priorities include a focus on extension and training of new guidelines to improve best practice, potentially leading to sustainability assurance programs.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $2,129

Total program expenses 2018-19: $2,520

Total program expenses 2019-20: $50,485

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-012077

Sustainable goat fibre production: Guidelines

The new guidelines provide timely guidance for Australian goat fibre producers using sustainable methods to achieve good animal health and welfare, social welfare and environmental stewardship outcomes.

Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E Strategies.

Buffalo

Highlights and achievements

Providing new information about the challenges of humane stunning buffalo for Australia’s export markets. The study, Developing Appropriate Stunning Methods for Halal Slaughter of Water Buffalo, developed and tested a series of activities to deliver a suitable method of humanely stunning smaller buffalo prior to slaughter for halal meat production

Summary of program

The GVP for Buffalo in 2019-20 was $7.3 million, up from $5.5 million in 2018-19.

The AgriFutures Buffalo Program has focused on addressing issues associated with uncertainty of supply and on live export markets and processing to meet halal markets, both domestically and in the international supply chain. Future RD&E is likely to include competitiveness, sustainability and market demand for Australian buffalo in overseas markets.

Deliverables for 2019-20

Investigations are ongoing into best practice methods for Halal stunning and slaughtering for local processing, which are in line with community expectations.

Total program expenses 2017-18: $38,699

Total program expenses 2018-19: $23,965

Total program expenses 2019-20: $14,850

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-009441

Developing Appropriate Stunning Methods for Halal Slaughter of Water Buffalo

This research was commissioned following industry concerns and feedback from markets about opportunities to enhance the welfare of buffalo during the slaughter process. Previous studies have reported that buffalo are notoriously difficult to stun. This report covers a series of activities aimed at developing a suitable method of humanely stunning smaller buffalo prior to slaughter for halal meat production in overseas markets.

Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E strategies.

Kangaroo

Highlights and achievements

1. The Australian kangaroo industry: male-only harvesting, sustainability and an assessment of animal welfare impacts, project was finalised in June 2020. This project provides objective information to underpin the sustainable harvest of kangaroo, and highlights that, during harvesting, kangaroos are managed using ecologically sustainable practices and that animal welfare impacts are minimised wherever possible based on the best available science.

2. Strong progress on the review of the Kangaroo Commercial Code (due for completion by end of August 2020). Following inclusion of new recommendations from animal welfare research, public consultation on the draft code was completed in January 2020. Consultation included surveys using two sample groups: a representative sample of greater than a 1,000 people representing the Australian population, and an open survey receiving more than 11,000 responses. Differences between these groups provide important lessons in how the kangaroo industry is perceived by representative Australians and impacted by groups ideologically opposed to kangaroo harvest.

Summary of program

The GVP for Kangaroo in 2019-20 was $30.5 million, down from $32.5 million in 2018-19.

The AgriFutures Kangaroo Program focuses on animal welfare, sustainability, nutritional value, trade barriers and food safety and product value.

Deliverables for 2019-20

To provide RD&E to support a sustainable industry with particular focus on enhancing the licence to operate and consumer appeal.

Total program expenses 2017–18: $129,117
Total program expenses 2018–19: $68,675
Total program expenses 2019–20: $17,797

Projects completed in 2019-20

Outcomes in 2019-20

Strategic objectives for 2017-22

PRJ-010771

The Australian kangaroo industry: male-only harvesting, sustainability and an assessment of animal welfare impacts

This project found that:

Animal welfare is generally improved using code-compliant commercial harvesting.

This form of kangaroo harvesting is sustainable and satisfies the three components necessary for sustainable use of natural resources: harvesting does not negatively impact biodiversity; harvesting is profitable; and harvesting is culturally acceptable.

Kangaroo populations fluctuate widely. The consequences of male-only harvesting are fast population recovery following disturbance, and higher average densities relative to populations which include a greater proportion of males.

Consequently, this harvest strategy would not meet pastoralists’ needs of controlling kangaroo populations to support better land management and pastoral productivity.

Animal welfare – gathering scientific evidence to a standard sufficient to gain third-party endorsement for the industry’s animal welfare practices.

Sustainability – compiling and sharing scientific evidence.

Deer

Highlights and achievements

There were no active investments during the 2019-20 period.

Summary of program

The GVP for Deer in 2019-20 was $2.2 million, up from $1.9 million in 2018-19.

The AgriFutures Deer Program will be working closely with deer farmers to partner in new RD&E investment including investigation of effective feeding, nutrition, genetics and market development for competitiveness along the farmed venison and velvet supply chains.

The plan focuses on:

  Improved handling and restraint facilities

  Improved genetics

  Research to identify impediments to deer processing

  Research on opportunities for multi-species processing

  Extension/training for producers working with processors to facilitate deer handling and slaughter.

Deliverables for 2019-20

There were no active investments during the 2019-20 period.

Ratite

Highlights and achievements

The Ratite Program is currently supporting Lauren Chartier – PhD candidate investigating the effects of novel nutraceuticals on experimentally–induced colitis-associated colorectal cancer.
Lauren has now completed all animal trials required for her PhD thesis. The results from these studies are being finalised and an abstract has been submitted to the ‘14th Congress of The International Society For the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids’ for presentation to be held in Qingdao, China in June 2020. Furthermore, results from the experimental work completed in year 1 of scholarship payments (grape seed extract and Emu Oil in colitis-associated colorectal cancer) were presented at Digestive Diseases Week, a prestigious gastroenterology conference in San Diego, USA in June 2019.

Summary of program

The GVP for Ratite in 2019-20 was $299,000, down from $365,000 in 2018-19.
The AgriFutures Ratite Program has focused on the opportunity to value-add to the emu oil market. The research could expand the applications for emu oil.