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CRC leaves perennial legacy

27-Jun-2014


Perennial plants in Australian farming systems will bring a net benefit of $1.6 billion dollars to Australian agriculture by 2030, according to the Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which closes on 30 June 2014.

 
Successful CRC collaboration - EverGraze Supporting Site members
inspect new pasture at Stuart and Janet Morant's farm in Tallangatta
Valley, north-east Victoria (courtesy EverGraze).

The CRC, which operated from 2007-2014, demonstrated through its innovative research that farming systems such as EverGraze, EverCrop and Enrich forage shrubs have already impacted more than one million hectares across southern Australia through practice change on farms, with an estimated 3.8 million hectares by 2030.

CEO Peter Zurzolo said the CRC’s primary objective had been met, which was to contribute substantially to Australia’s growth through the transformation of agricultural production across southern Australia using perennial plant based farming systems.

“When the CRC closes its doors at the end of this month, it will leave a substantial legacy for Australian agriculture including the perennial plant based farming systems EverGraze, Enrich and EverCrop; commercialisation agreements for new plants varieties - temperate and tropical grasses, tedera, messina, and old man saltbush; new decision support tools such as ADOPT, INFFER and CATPlus; a prototype mallee harvester; the beginning of a new biofuels industry based on mallee biofuel; improved biodiversity and water management outcomes; 55 PhD graduates, a new scholarship fund for PhD students researching agriculture and much more.

Mr Zurzolo said that over the past seven years, 755 people through its 16 partner organisations contributed to this CRC, working together to achieve its goals. He said thousands more would have interacted with CRC researchers and partners at field days, workshops and events over the seven years. Mr Zurzolo singled out for thanks the people who are the primary beneficiaries of the CRC’s research.

“To all the farmers, NRM/CMA groups and other non-shareholder staff who have generously provided their time or land to allow the CRC to undertake its research, we appreciate it. I have been humbled by how generous farmers have been in providing their valuable land and support to researchers to enable field work to be done.”

The CRC’s research programs on perennial plant based farming systems have either been completed or transferred to other agencies or funding bodies. The CRC website www.futurefarmonline.com.au will remain live with information on research programs and outcomes available until June 2017.

Media enquiries: Jean Burton, Communications Manager 0400 995 673 until 30 June 2014.

Key CRC Impacts

Program Impacts
EverGraze Estimated total return from changes to feedbase, grazing management, shelter = $300 million.  4400 producers have or will make changes to management, affecting 960,000 ha in high rainfall areas. New temperate and subtropical perennial panic grasses commercialised.
Enrich 580 farmers using shrub systems, with further 400 likely to use the system. 65 advisors trained. Up to 20% increase in carrying capacity. Elite line of old man saltbush developed and commercialised. Improved understanding of animal behaviour in relation to novel forage shrubs, and potential to reduce methane emissions.
EverCrop Over 200 farmers and advisors engaged in new strategies to incorporate perennial plants into cropping systems. World-first domestication of new species of forage legumes tedera and messina. Projected adoption of EverCrop practices of 780,000 ha with a net benefit of $90 million by 2030. Release of ADOPT tool for predicting adoption of new technologies.
New Woody Crop Industries Successful prototype mallee harvester a pivotal component of future sustainable biomass supply chain and viable commercial market. Studies showing energy-based tree crops have the potential to match financial returns from existing agricultural enterprises, with payback of establishment costs in as little as five years, offering thousands of farmers an alternative income stream and more sustainable farm practices.
Saltland Systems, Biodiversity and Water Adoption of Saltland Systems technologies on more than 550 farms in southern Australia. Increased productivity of 24% reported for salt-affected farm land. Development and application of decision support tools (e.g. INFFER) boosting confidence and knowledge of land and water use strategies.


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Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) ceased trading on 30 June 2014.

This website contains information about the CRC’s research into perennial plant based farming systems.

This site will remain live until 30 June 2017 but is no longer being updated or reviewed.

Further information about CRC research projects can be obtained by following links from relevant project pages or by viewing the research transfer page.

The CRC was funded for seven years (2007-2014) under the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre program.