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Australia, China partner on grains research

Grain

A new partnership will see Australia and China join capabilities to further grains research.

His Excellency Dr Ren Zhengxiao, Administrator of China’s State Administration of Grain, and the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, met yesterday to welcome an Australia-China grains biosecurity research centre partnership.

The Australia-China Joint Centre for Postharvest Grain Biosecurity and Quality Research is a partnership between Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Murdoch University and China’s Academy of State Administration of Grain.

With grain Australia’s most significant agricultural export and China the world’s largest producer of wheat, the two countries share similar challenges for their industries.

“Global grain markets are changing and we need to change with them. Established methods for stored grain pest control are facing increased pressure from both regulation and changing market preferences for non-chemical options,” said Dr Michael Robinson, CEO of the Plant Biosecurity CRC.

“A major challenge is increasing insect resistance to the stored grain fumigant phosphine, a mainstay of the grains industry globally,” he said.

The Joint Centre will bring together leading researchers from both China and Australia to work on developing non-chemical controls to manage stored grain pests with the aim of reducing biosecurity and trade risks while providing clean grain.

“This partnership will assist both nations in protecting domestic and international grains markets, maintaining access and ensuring food security,” said Dr Robinson.

The Joint Centre will focus on innovative technologies such as the use of nitrogen for stored grain pest management and ‘lure and kill’ pest control using pheromones and light-based trapping systems. The partnership will work with grain suppliers and companies to commercialise the research and deliver it to industry.

“This agreement has the opportunity to sustain biosecurity research in the grains sector for the long-term,” Robinson said.

“The visit of His Excellency Mr Ren to Australia to launch the Joint Centre shows how important this is for the grains industries of both countries.”

The delegation will visit Perth this week for the official Australian inauguration of the Joint Centre at Murdoch University, where the grainsresearch laboratory is led by Professor Yong Lin Ren, a world leader in post-harvest grains research. This will be followed by a tour of CBH Group port operations at Kwinana in Western Australia to see nitrogen technology in action.

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