National partnership to harness analytics for grains RD&E

28 Aug 2023

GrainsAustralian growers will benefit from a renewed focus on grains research, development, and extension (RD&E) data and insights with the announcement of a five-year strategic partnership aimed at harnessing analytics to drive the sector’s profitability and global competitiveness.

Analytics for the Australian Grains Industry (AAGI) is a co-investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) with strategic partners The University of Queensland (UQ), Curtin University, and University of Adelaide.

UQ Vice Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry AO, said the partnership will build frontier research solutions for all levels of the grains industry while helping to expand analytics training and support for the agriculture community.

“This is an excellent demonstration of how collaboration between industry and the higher education community can deliver outstanding outcomes for those working across Australia in one of our most important export industries,” Professor Terry said.

Involved partners
GRDC manager enabling technologies John Rivers; The University of Queensland Emeritus Professor Kaye Basford, Professor of Biometry; University of Adelaide Dr Julian Taylor, Biometry Hub; Curtin University’s Professor Mark Gibberd, Director, Centre for Crop and Disease Management; and (not in this photo) UQ's Professor Scott Chapman represent the strategic partners for the Analytics for the Australian Grains Industry (AAGI) initiative.

“One of the real legacies of the AAGI initiative will be developing the capability of a new generation of talented analytics graduates to support the grains industry for many years to come.”

GRDC is committing $36 million over five years to AAGI, which complements a $56 million co-investment from the initiative’s three strategic partners.

This will ensure data-driven, rigorous RD&E projects are provided with the statistical and analytical capabilities required to convert raw data into meaningful knowledge for grain growers and the broader grains industry.

Over a decade ago, GRDC identified the value of investment in statistics for the Australian grains industry and AAGI will be a significant step change in that approach.

This new research will build on the foundational work done under the GRDC’s $23.8 million Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry 3 (SAGI3) investment, which delivered vital information for the grains sector between 2016 and 2023.

UQ's Professor Scott Chapman
UQ's Professor Scott Chapman, conducting field research

During this period SAGI3 provided statistical expertise to more than 210 GRDC investments totalling more than $490 million.

As a result of these investments, growers now benefit from better germplasm selections in pre-breeding programs, clearer research-driven agronomic recommendations, and tools that use data to support on-farm decision-making.

AAGI will also build substantial capacity in the grains RD&E analytics workforce, with investment earmarked to support the equivalent of 49 full-time researchers and 48 higher degree research students.

This increased capacity will broaden analytics capabilities, allow for more investment into high-priority research, and attract additional intellectual property, investment and expertise from the commercial sector and other parties.

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