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Key Industry Organisations

The canola association of Australia Inc.

J. Lamont


  • The Rapeseed Canola Association of Australia was formed in 1982. In 1991, it was incorporated and renamed the Canola Association of Australia.
  • The initial aim of the Association was to promote the industry to growers, especially through provision of agronomic information.
  • Later aims of the Association have included supporting end-users by assisting in promotions, producing the book "Quality of Australian Canola" and providing estimates of planted area and likely production to industry during the growing season.


The concept of an organisation to represent the Australian rapeseed industry was originally discussed in the late 1970s, when production was low, with only a very few farmers growing rapeseed. In March 1981 a meeting of growers and industry representatives elected a working committee to investigate the feasibility and need for such an organisation. On the recommendation of this committee, a subsequent meeting in 1982 set up the Rapeseed Canola Association of Australia. From this small beginning with fifty dedicated members who were mostly growers, the Association membership slowly grew during the 1980s to include members from states other than New South Wales as well as industry personnel. In 1991 the Association became incorporated and the name was changed to The Canola Association of Australia Inc.

Role Of The Association

The main aim of the Association in the formative years was to promote the industry to growers. To this end, major seminars were held in the producing areas and the Associations’ newsletter “Canola News” provided agronomic information to members. In 1990 the Association produced a comprehensive manual dealing with all aspects of the industry for distribution to members and agronomists. Also at this time the emphasis changed to support the major end-users of canola products. It was considered that the various state departments of Agriculture were adequately covering the agronomic extension needed by the industry. The end-users were strongly promoting the benefits of canola-based food products as the industry expanded and the possibility of regular exports became a reality. Membership of the Association at this time grew to include all sectors of the industry from plant breeders, researchers, seed companies, growers, grain handling authorities, crushers, exporters and the end users of canola products. A successful joint promotion with industry led to the establishment of the Meadow Lea Gold'n Canola Awards. Eventually held in all states, this award was for excellence in canola crop management. It was a great incentive to growers and was also a promotion for canola in the marketplace. This award still operates in a similar form as part of the national Golden Grower Awards sponsored by AgrEvo, the Australian Wheat Board, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Meadow Lea Foods and Australian Grain.

In addition to publishing a newsletter four times a year to keep members informed of industry news and events, in 1993 the Association first published the book "Quality of Australian Canola". This book is an authoritative record of the actual quality of Australian canola, being based on analysis of samples of the years production from all growing areas of Australia. The publication of this book is one most important annual activities of the Association. During the canola growing season, the Association conducts monthly national telephone conferences to monitor crop progress. Area planted and likely yields are assessed as the season progresses. With the dramatic expansion of the area planted to canola and the resulting production increase, this monthly report has been in great demand by farmers, marketers and end users.

During 1998 a separate organisation was incorporated in Western Australia, the Canola Association of Western Australia. With similar aims to the Canola Association of Australia, this group will cater specifically for the needs of the industry in Western Australia. The Canola Association of Australia has close ties with the Australian Oilseeds Federation, the peak oilseeds industry body.

As the Australian canola industry has expanded to over 1.6 million hectares in 1999, the Association can look back on seventeen years of involvement and aims to continue as an industry focal point for the challenges and changes which will occur in the years ahead.

The Australian Oilseeds Federation

B. Bell


  • The Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF) is the peak oilseeds industry body, which provides leadership and co-ordination for the industry. All sectors of the industry are represented on the AOF.
  • The AOF is now implementing its second five-year strategic industry development plan (Strategy 2002).
  • A key aim of the plan has been to create a stronger industry production base from which domestic value-adding and export opportunities can be developed.


The role of the Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF) is to act as the peak oilseeds industry body, with representation from all sectors, and to provide leadership and co-ordination for the industry. The values that underpin the AOF’s activities are equal participation for all members, complete industry integration and partnerships with the commercial sector.

While the AOF was established in 1970, it really began to drive industry growth in the early 1990s with the development of its first five-year industry development plan. The industry is now implementing its second five-year plan (Strategy 2002) and has made considerable inroads into the imports of vegetable oils and soybean meal. Strategy 2002 builds on the foundations laid by the AOF’s first plan and continues the focus on ensuring the industry is profitable for players in the chain.

Strategy 2002 is focused on delivering the AOF vision, which contains the following key elements:

  • assisting the Australian oilseed industry to be a responsible, viable, world class producer, processor and marketer of quality oilseeds and products
  • focusing on satisfying domestic market requirements and growing exports
  • encouraging innovation and investment in research, development and extension
  • seeking to maximise the efficiency of each industry sector.

AOF Achievements For The Oilseed Industry

Over the past seven years, the successful outcomes from the implementation of AOF’s strategic plans has benefited all sectors of the industry. A key goal has been to create a stronger industry production base from which domestic value-adding and export opportunities can be developed. A major focus of this has been to build grower confidence in oilseed production.

Building Grower Confidence in Oilseeds

AOF activities that have assisted to build grower confidence include:

  • free distribution of Australian Oilseed News to keep growers and the industry up to date with production outlook, international market trends and local market outlook and events
  • free distribution of the AOF Growers Marketing Guide, compiled specifically to assist growers in understanding their marketing options, the sources of information available and relevant contact information
  • development of crop specific plans to allow resources to be targeted to the most profitable activities
  • implementation of regional specific extension programs for particular oilseeds, which provide targeted support to new and existing growers in order to maximise results from their crops.
  • market-focused workshops and research plans to assist growers in understanding the market opportunities for their products e.g. high-oleic sunflower, edible soybeans.

Building Consumer Demand

The AOF works with the end-users through a partnership with the Australian Oilseed Products Group to promote the natural and healthy characteristics of oilseed products. The most recent initiative has been the development of an education kit for school children to introduce them to the oilseed industry and human nutrition issues. Equally important for the industry are the consumers of oilseed meals. The AOF has had a pro-active role in promoting the usage of oilseed meals (particularly canola meal) for livestock feeding with considerable success. The AOF has funded trial work to establish a source of Australian data, with the emphasis to shift to the extension of this material in the next few years.

Supporting the Industry’s Export Growth

The AOF has played a key role in supporting the industry’s export growth in recent years. This has centred on market access issues and has included successful lobbying to gain access for canola seed and sunseed into Mexico and to gain comparable tariff treatment for canola oil and soybean oil in Korea.

A further important activity of the AOF has been the development of the Trading Standards Manual. These Standards have recently been completely reviewed, updated and bought in line with international standards. The Manual forms a valuable resource for the industry.

Building Australia’s International Profile

The AOF has been active in promoting the Australian industry on the international stage. The emergence of Australia as a serious player in the world market has been reflected in the AOF winning the rights to host major events on the world oilseeds calendar, including the International Association of Seed Crushers Congress in September 2001.

Facilitating Industry Communications

A major focus of AOF has been to improve communications between the various industry sectors. To assist this, AOF provides funding support to the Canola Associations of Australia and WA, the Australian Sunflower Association and the AOF Soybean Committee.

Grains Research And Development Corporation

J. Cullen


  • The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a statutory corporation with responsibility for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development in the Australian grains industry.
  • GRDC funding is provided through a levy on grain growers, with matching funding from the Commonwealth Government.
  • GRDC is a major fund provider for canola research, breeding and technology transfer in Australia, investing around $2.5 million per annum.


The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry. The GRDC is a statutory corporation, founded in 1990 by Australia’s Commonwealth Government. Funding is provided through a levy on grain growers (currently 1% of the value on 25 leviable crops). The Commonwealth Government matches this funding, up to an agreed ceiling. The crops include temperate and tropical cereals, pulses and oilseeds.

The GRDC has developed a dynamic research partnership with the grains industry. This partnership now underpins the industry’s drive towards higher profitability. The GRDC integrates grains research across production, processing, environmental and marketing sectors to enhance marketability, productivity and sustainability of Australia’s grains industry. Investment by the GRDC in 1999-2000 will be almost $100 million.

Research Priorities

GRDC investment is divided into four objectives that address long-term issues facing the industry. The four investment objectives are:

  • Meeting quality requirements – strengthening the links between researchers, producers, processors and marketers to ensure the industry continues to meet the requirements of discriminating buyers.
  • Increasing productivity – introducing improved plant varieties, production methods and farming systems that increase yield and reduce the cost of farm inputs.
  • Protecting and enhancing the environment – improving the industry’s capability to produce grain of a consistent quality and yield over a long period.
  • Delivering outcomes – integrating research outcomes into user-friendly information packages, to be marketed through the most effective delivery networks.

The R&D programs carried out by the GRDC have been crucial in helping the growth of the industry and in increasing the profitability of graingrowers. It is providing a competitive edge to the industry enabling continued success on world markets, in variety development and in delivering agronomic advances benefiting farmers.

Canola production has grown significantly in Australia in the last five years and is now seen as an important component of the Australian farming system. The increased GRDC investment in canola has paralleled the production increase (Figure 18).

The priority areas for GRDC investment in canola are:

  • disease resistance
  • improved product quality
  • improved weed control
  • improved adaptation to low rainfall areas
  • better management practices.

Figure 18: Canola crop production and GRDC investment in canola R&D.

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