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Barley Research and Development – 21st Century Opportunities

Professor J.V. Lovett

Grains Research and Development Corporation, PO Box E6, Kingston, ACT 2604

This paper reviews key aspects of past and present investment arrangements for barley research, and proposes a range of strategies for investment in the future.

One of the most significant achievements of the 1990’s was the regional and national co-ordination of research activity. The model of the 1990’s has worked well, focussing the research effort on achieving specific outputs relevant to industry priorities and helping to establish a collaborative, integrated research effort. The collaboration reflects very well on the attitude of researchers who have accepted the benefits of better integration of the research programs.

The deliberate and purposeful engagement of the malting and brewing industries in establishing research priorities has also been crucial to developing programs with a strong focus on malting quality improvement. This has also had the effect of creating specific investment opportunities for the malting and brewing industries who in each region are a key investors in barley R&D with the GRDC and its stakeholders: growers and the Commonwealth government. Future investment arrangements for barley R&D must preserve and further develop the key relationships with government and industry stakeholders.

In general, the programs have competed successfully to attract investment by the GRDC, the malting and brewing industries, and other industry sources such as grain handling authorities. In the period between 1996/97 and 2000/01, the GRDC has invested more than $38 million in barley research programs. The programs are generally well resourced and there has been strong uptake of new technologies such as near infra-red spectroscopy and marker assisted selection.

Further development of the industry is expected to occur in this decade through the introduction of improved varieties and production practices, associated with significantly expanded barley production in south eastern and Western Australia.

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