MLA welcomes $5 million in grants for rural research

15 May 2015

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has been awarded almost $5 million in funding to lead two new research and development projects granted through the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit Programme.

The research projects, to be led by MLA over three years, will focus on the long-lasting benefits of weed biological control; and identifying market and consumer insights to drive value chain innovation and growth in export markets.  

MLA Managing Director Richard Norton welcomed the grants, acknowledging that these two areas of research would offer significant long term benefits to producers and the wider agricultural industry.

“MLA is always looking to identify new and innovative areas for research that will deliver value back to levy payers. We are glad to work with our research partners on these important issues that benefit industries across agriculture,” Mr Norton said. 

“This opportunity for cross-industry collaboration is extremely important for all of agriculture as together with the Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), we can work to expand Australia’s rural R&D effort, improve industry effectiveness and efficiencies, co-invest in high priority areas and encourage uptake of research results to improve international competitiveness and sustainability.”

The projects are:

Weed biological control 
$1.89 million for fast-tracking and maximising the long-lasting benefits of weed biological control for farm productivity
This project will improve the control of six national priority agricultural weeds (parkinsonia, parthenium, blackberry, silverleaf nightshade, cylindropuntia, gorse) with the aim of fast-tracking delivery of eight biocontrol agents to producers. It is expected to reduce weed competition and herbicide use. The partners for this project are: CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Victorian Department of Economic Development and TasWeed. 

Global supply chain innovation 
$2.87 million for identifying market and consumer insights to drive value chain innovation and growth in export markets 
This project will identify opportunities in export markets and help producers and their supply chain partners respond effectively to those opportunities to grow their businesses. It aims to build the capacity of agri-food supply chains to innovate and collaborate for market advantage by creating easy-to-access tools and strategies, including online resources and face-to-face workshops. The partners for this project are: Victorian Department of Economic Development; Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited; CSIRO and the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre.

“Weeds can be detrimental to business sustainability. By researching how best to fast-track weed biological control can improve agricultural production and benefit the Australian economy by reducing weed competition and herbicide use across more than 25 million hectares of pasture in Australia,” Mr Norton said.   

“Growing the global demand for red meat is a priority for the industry, particularly as Australia exports more than 70% of its beef and lamb. A project that looks at market and consumer insights to identify opportunities in export markets will not only help producers and their supply chain partners to grow their businesses, but enable capacity building across other agri-food supply chains.” 

The project grants are two of 12 new grants approved under the Australian Government's $100 million 'Rural R&D for Profit Programme' to drive increased profits for rural industries, recently announced by the Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP. 

MLA is also research partner in four other projects awarded in the first round of grants of the research initiative.

Released by: Rose Glasser, MLA Media Manager, ph. 02 9463 9198.

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