CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The Grains Research and Development Corp. (GRDC) announced on Jan. 17 that it has committed more than $17.5 million over four years to Grains Australia Ltd. to bolster the competitiveness and profitability of the nation’s grain sector across the value chain in domestic and international markets.

Established by GRDC in 2020, Grains Australia delivers services and functions on behalf of the grains sector, including classification, trade and market access, market information and education with the aim of ensuring Australia has a collaborative and unified approach, the GRDC said.

The Australian grains sector is worth $16.7 billion on average each year with grain growers producing around 46.8 million tonnes of grain annually, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

John Woods, chairman of GRDC and a grain grower, said the decision to invest in Grains Australia on behalf of the nation’s grain growers was a critical, considered move to support the sector’s long-term competitiveness and profitability.

“During the most recent season we faced harvest challenges and crop downgrades in eastern Australian and supply chain issues in the west, so it is more apparent than ever that consolidating ‘industry good’ functions and services is critical for our industry,” Woods said. “Marketplace dynamics are changing, and national and international markets and supply chain logistics continue to be volatile and challenging and are likely to remain that way into the future. There has never been a more important time to have a collaborative and unified approach. Grains Australia is leading the way for the industry and playing a core role in managing variety classification, market access, market information and education.

Terry Enright, chairman of Grains Australia, said the formation of Grains Australia by GRDC in 2020 was an important investment in the future for the nation’s grain growers.

“In establishing Grains Australia, GRDC recognized the need for an industry organization that works across functions to bring value across the entire supply chain,” Enright said. “Now GRDC’s decision to continue investing in the work of Grains Australia means we can continue to deliver the critical functions required to support the Australian grains industry’s development and profitability.

“We service the connection between what the market wants and what the industry can provide, enabling a value exchange between Australian growers and our end-users around the world.”

Recently, Grains Australia appointed well-known grains industry leader Richard Simonaitis to chief executive officer after nearly a decade at the helm of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) in Perth.

Simonaitis will seek to continue the momentum for Grains Australia that already has seen the integration of Wheat Quality Australia, the Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF), Barley Australia, The National Working Party on Grain Protection (NWPGP) and established a national oats council.

Looking ahead, Grains Australia said it will focus on key programs to deliver benefits back to growers, including:

  • A feed grain into Indonesia market access and education initiative
  • Malting and brewing barley into Brazil market access and education initiative
  • Further improve variety classification systems for wheat, barley and oats
  • Developing the industry-first pulse classification framework that will value add to the pulse industry by enabling Australian product to be differentiated in key export markets delivering greater returns for growers over the long term.

Simonaitis said the introduction of a pulse classification system would provide an opportunity to improve product consistency and emphasis on the quality characteristics of Australian pulses that are sought after by consumers.

“The first phase of this work will be focused on an Australian lentil classification framework that can be used as a basis for other pulse crops, generating additional value from the initial investment,” he said.