Nitrogen-efficient wheat & barley – the ‘NUE’ thing
Three international research organisations have announced plans to develop nitrogen-use-efficient (NUE) wheat and barley, requiring as much as 50 per cent less fertilizer.
CSIRO, through the Food Futures Flagship, the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) and Arcadia Biosciences, a US-based plant technology company, have agreed to jointly develop and commercialise NUE wheat and barley.
Nitrogen is a key input for wheat and barley crops. Arcadia’s proprietary NUE technology enables plants to utilise nitrogen fertilizer more efficiently, providing cost savings for farmers while providing high yields. NUE cereals crops will also benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution in waterways.
“Leveraging each organisation’s strengths has produced a highly effective international collaboration with significant opportunities not only in reducing nitrogen use but also the potential to impact positively on grain quality attributes,”
Dr Lee said.
ACPFG’s General Manager, Michael Gilbert, said the new technology could represent a major advance for Australian agriculture.
“Nitrogen fertilizer costs have been spiralling and the environmental benefits of reducing its use will be irresistible to the Australian grains industry. Arcadia is an outstanding company and we look forward to working with them and also furthering our great relationship with CSIRO,” he said.
The Director of CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship, Dr Bruce Lee, said CSIRO’s pre-breeding and novel grain trait research, Arcadia’s NUE technology and ACPFG’s high quality research were a “perfect fit”.
“Leveraging each organisation’s strengths has produced a highly effective international collaboration with significant opportunities not only in reducing nitrogen use but also the potential to impact positively on grain quality attributes,” Dr Lee said.
President and CEO of Arcadia, Eric Rey, said ACPFG and CSIRO were highly desirable partners for the development of NUE technology in wheat and barley.
“Each organisation has very strong research and development capabilities, and their presence in Australia, a major wheat and barley producing country, offers significant benefits,” Mr Rey said.
NUE wheat and barley varieties from the collaboration are expected to be commercialised in 2015-2016.
CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities. The nine Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.
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