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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin


    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Thursday, June 22, 2006


    Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said research would help offset Queensland’s feed grain shortfall caused by drought and a burgeoning demand.

    “A key role of plant breeding is to lift cereal yields to meet feed grain demand while maximising water use efficiency,’’ Mr Mulherin said in Warwick today.

    Mr Mulherin was in Warwick to visit the Hermitage Research Station and present awards to winners of the Plant Science Competition, including the Joe Baker Outstanding Achievement awards.

    Professor Baker, who was born in Warwick, is Queensland DPI&F’s chief scientist.

    “Our scientists are working to improve water use efficiency and to develop more flexible, reliable cropping options that allow us to grow more grain,” he said.

    “Farmers are using zero tillage, stubble retention, skip row cropping and precision farming to help with this quest.’’

    Mr Mulherin said Queensland feed grains production did not meet demand in about 30 per cent of years, resulting in grain imports from other states.

    “By the end of 2007, the demand for the three feed grains of wheat, barley and sorghum is expected to increase by 50 per cent, from 2 million tonnes in 2003 to 3 million tonnes in 2007.

    “On top of this growth, ethanol plants at Dalby and Millmerran will use about 350,000 tonnes of grain a year, or 25 per cent of Queensland’s feed production.’’

    He said the prospect of more frequent and severe droughts in the future provided new challenges for all involved in farming and research.

    The DPI&F has recently appointed a new wheat breeder to the Leslie Research Centre in Toowoomba and would soon have another barley breeder.

    “Our sorghum breeding program is also clearly focussed on increasing yields to meet live stock industry requirements,” he said.

    “DPI&F sorghum germplasm includes insect and disease resistance, staygreen drought resistance, improved yield, and now contributes to most Australian grain sorghum varieties.

    “Our staygreen drought resistance mechanism will potentially deliver benefits worth $30 million a year to the Australian sorghum industry,” Mr Mulherin said.

    The Queensland Government recently committed $203 million in the DPI&F Budget towards industry development, through trade, research and development, policy development and regional services.

    Total Budget expenditure of $308 million was committed to DPI&F in 2006-07, including $227.8 million c9ommitmnent from the State Government _ an increase of five per cent or $11 million on the 2005-06 Budget.

    Joe Baker Outstanding Achievement Awards winners were:

    Year category 11 - 12 - Goldie Soetianto (Windaroo Valley State High School, Beenleigh) ;
    Year category 8 - 10 - Stephanie Pratt (Southport State High School);
    Year category 4 - 7 - Christina Budur, Fei Fei Jin & Susan Tan (Macgregor State School, Brisbane);
    Year category 1 - 3 - Matthew Whittaker (Warwick East State School) .

    Media: David Potter 32396530