Horsham's Australian Grains Genebank grows grains collection

COLLECTION EXTRAORDINAIRE: Genebank leader Sally Norton shows Peter Walsh and Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy new seeds from Queensland at the Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

COLLECTION EXTRAORDINAIRE: Genebank leader Sally Norton shows Peter Walsh and Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy new seeds from Queensland at the Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

THE Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham is now home to the nation's grains germplasm collection.

The genebank has received a collection of tropical grains from Queensland, meaning all three of Australia's main grain collections - previously based in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales - are now stored together in Horsham.

Genebank leader Sally Norton said the Australian Tropical Crops and Forages Collection arrived from Biloela Research Station in Queensland.

She said the shipment included 20,000 packets of seeds.

"There are lots of technical aspects involved in keeping the collection here - we have to maintain quality and quantity at all times," she said.

"Once we get all the seeds into the freezers and a national database up and running, we'll be all set.

"Things are going well and we hope to ramp up operations in the next few years."

She said clients would be able to search an online national database for information on the seeds kept at the genebank.

"When it goes live, clients can log on and look at what's here," she said.

"It is important to have increased access to the materials."

The Queensland collection joins the Australian Winter Cereals Collection from NSW and the Australian Temperate Field Crops Collection from Horsham. Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said overall there were 150,000 packets and 130,000 lines of seed at the genebank.

"The genebank has long-term capacity to continue taking in more genetic material," he said.

The genebank opened in March.

"It is a state-of-the-art centre that can store seed species at minus 20 degrees," Mr Walsh said.

"By enabling breeders to develop higher yielding varieties better able to withstand drought, frost, pests and disease, the genebank is making an important contribution to future productivity gains in the grains industry and improvements in global food security."

Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy said the genebank culminated 15 years of discussion between government and the agriculture industry.

"The State Government is committed to helping our state's farmers double production by 2030 through innovative research, development and extension," she said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop