CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The Grains Research and Development Corp. (GRDC) on Jan. 16 unveiled a new investment aimed at strengthening and enhancing national and regional grains research.

The investment, which consists of A$18 million over the next five years, is phase three of the GRDC’s Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) program. The third phase of SAGI will include the development of four nodes across Australia to deliver high-quality statistical science in support of hundreds of research projects, the GRDC said.

The GRDC noted that several of the projects involve advancing crop varieties, agronomic knowledge and farming practices.

“This significant investment will increase the national grains industry’s capacity in the area of biometrics — the application of statistics to biological data — which is incredibly important in ensuring that grains research is statistically sound and credible, as well as speeding up research outcomes for the benefit of growers,” said Steve Jefferies, managing director for the GRDC. “Statistical science is an unsung hero of improvements in the grains industry. Through the GRDC’s statistical investments over the past 15 years, statistical science has played a critical role in the breeding of better grain varieties and more efficient research development and extension targeting grower priorities.

“Importantly, the GRDC’s long-term investment in SAGI has created enduring capacity in world-class biometricians in Australia and this generation of mid-career statisticians will continue to benefit the grains industry as they grow into our next crop of statistical leaders.”

Jefferies said the results generated from the SAGI investment will be “a massive step forward for the Australian grains industry.”

The four “nodes” include a National node, based at the University of Wollongong, as well as three regional nodes (North, South and West). The regional nodes will provide support for trial design and data analysis for projects relevant to their regions, and will be closely linked to each other and to the National node through training and research initiatives, as well as collaborative projects, the GRDC said.

The National node will carry out the same support and collaborative activities as its regional counterparts but will do so for the GRDC’s high-value, long-term Genetic and Enabling Technologies business group projects, the GRDC said. The National node also will be responsible for oversight of the National Quality Assurance System for Biometrics in the Grains Industry, which ensures the quality of the statistics provided by all SAGI nodes.

For more information on the program and the responsibilities of the different nodes, click here