New barley research alliance

February 23, 2015

Barley squareThe barley industry is set to reap the rewards of a new research alliance between the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) and Murdoch University.

The Western Barley Genetic Alliance will combine DAFWA and Murdoch’s complementary expertise and resources to collaborate and co-invest in areas of barley genetics research over the next five years.

Murdoch Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Development, Professor David Morrison said the combined strengths of the two institutions would enable the Western Barley Genetic Alliance to be more effective.

“Together, we wish to make a substantial contribution to the barley industry and contribute national leadership in areas of barley genetic improvement for the benefit of the Australian grains industry,” Professor Morrison said.

DAFWA Director General Rob Delane said the Alliance would deliver significant ongoing benefits to industry.

“The Alliance will enhance barley research and development with delivery of improved genetics for the grains industry, addressing current and future industry identified gaps,” Mr Delane said.

“The end result will be research that translates into productivity and profitability at the farm gate faster.”

Murdoch University brings to the Alliance state-of-the-art facilities and international linkages in genomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics together with undergraduate, post-graduate research programs in crop genetics and other aligned research areas.

The University will also provide funding for up to 10 new PhD scholarships in barley genetics and fund two new postdoctoral fellowships.

DAFWA has a proven track record in delivering outputs to the barley industry in areas of barley genetic research including germplasm identification, identifying economically important genetic traits and environmental influences on these traits.  This research enables breeders and geneticists to maximise barley production and processing potential.

DAFWA also has highly developed expertise in barley agronomy and networks that enable the translation of genetic research outputs to productivity and profitability gains to the barley industry in WA and nationally.

The Western Barley Genetics Alliance will undertake collaborative research and development focusing on barley yield and adaptation, quality, and reducing risk to growers. To do this it will use state-of-the-art technology for molecular genetics research and gene identification to support conventional breeding. It will provide national leadership in areas of barley genetic improvement and train a new cohort of scientists capable of translating cutting-edge genetics to meet industry needs.

The Alliance will underpin a number of key collaborations with national research partners including the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre (AEGIC) collaborating universities and other industry participants.

WA barley production was valued at an estimated $880 million in 2014, as part of a multi-billion dollar national industry. WA is the largest exporter of malting barley.



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