Top Australian agricultural research organisations set to collaborate in effort to increase adoption of new practices

Ten of Australia’s leading agricultural research organisations are pooling their powers to bolster on-farm adoption of research outcomes and returns to farmers.

Delivered through Hort Innovation and led by Enablers of Change, the three-year collaborative initiative will coach researchers and extension practitioners to pilot innovative approaches and learn from each other, with the ultimate goal of delivering results across the agriculture sector.

Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said it was crucial for agricultural research organisations to collaborate on cross-industry priorities such as research adoption.

“That is why we are working with other research and development corporations and investor bodies to ensure that we design our research projects with the end-user front of mind from the outset,” Fifield said.

“Where there are common challenges and opportunities to tackle, it just makes sense to work together to amplify our efforts and reduce duplication.”

Fifield said Australia’s agricultural levy and research funding model was the envy of other countries and that this joint initiative would take impact and return on levy investment to a whole new level.

“Getting research gains into the hands of our growers and equipping them to make changes that positively impact their business is a key priority for Hort Innovation – and other research organisations,” he said.

“With around A$160minvested in research and development, trade and marketing by our organisation alone over the past year, the next step is ensuring that these investments deliver optimum impact on farm and on the bottom line of farm businesses.

“The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has set a bold target for the agriculture sector – to exceed A$100bnin value by 2030 – and the horticulture sector has a key role to play in reaching this target.

“Recent research conducted by Hort Innovation shows that the Australian fruit, vegetable, nut, turf and nursery industries are projected to surge by up to 22.5 per cent in combined value from 2020 to 2030, increasing by A$4bn to A$21.8bn.”

This program is the latest in a strategic drive to build on joint Research and Development Corporation collaboration, with a number of other initiatives currently underway such as the Australian Food & Wine Collaborators.

The partners involved in this collaboration are Hort Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Wine Australia, Dairy Australia, AgriFutures, LiveCorp, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, and the University of Melbourne’s Drought and Innovation Hub.