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High-tech grain research centre to open in South Australia

Primary Industries

A major crop research centre focusing on wheat, barley, canola and lupin production will open in South Australia tomorrow.

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Australian Grain Technologies’ (AGT) Southern Crop Breeding Centre features a state-of-the-art greenhouse, leading-edge growth rooms and evaluation services and is located at Roseworthy, 60km north of Adelaide.

The AU$20 million centre will house more than 30 staff and provide support services to another 35 staff located at AGT’s regionally-based breeding nodes at Narrabri in northern New South Wales, Wagga Wagga in southern NSW and Northam in Western Australia.

AGT was established in 2002 by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the South Australian Government and the University of Adelaide. It is still headquartered in South Australia and is Australia’s largest field crop breeding company.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Haydn Kuchel said the new centre was an exciting development for Australian farmers, agronomists, consultants and researchers.

He said it further demonstrated the company’s commitment to the Australian grains industry.

“It’s that commitment to Australian agriculture that has led to us investing into this new world-class breeding centre,” Dr Kuchel said.

“The technology built into this new site will increase our capacity, expand our breeding programs and improve on our existing track record of producing market leading field crop varieties for Australian farmers.

AGT Chief Executive Officer Dr Haydn Kuchel. Picture: Erica Visser.

“Growers are continually looking for better varieties with improved performance that can help them stay ahead of their international competitors.

“As a company, we are proud of the work we do to serve growers and look forward to taking up the challenge to deliver better genetic outcomes in the future.”

AGT primarily develops wheat varieties but it also has fledgling breeding programs in lupin, barley and canola. Since 2002, AGT has released 61 wheat varieties, including Mace, the most successful wheat ever released on the Australian market. AGT varieties account for more than half of Australia’s annual wheat plantings.

South Australian Agriculture Minister Tim Whetstone will help launch the new centre and said it was a welcome development for the industry.

“AGT serves Australian farmers and the world’s population by developing new field crop varieties that are more productive, better quality and/or cost less to grow,” he said.

“The South Australian Government is looking forward to supporting their continued growth and thanks them for their contribution to the Australian grains industry.”

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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