Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 052 October-November 2004 - North
GENE TECHNOLOGY ISSUE 52 OCTOBER 2004 ® SPECIAL FEATURE: PAGES 6-10 The risk of the Australian grains industry slipping behind its international rivals because of its inability to use gene modification (GM) technologies has been thrown into sharp focus at this year's International Grains Conference in London. Egypt's Minister for Supply and External Trade, Hassan Khedr, told the conference that for many importing countries, food security remained a high priority and the use of GM technology by producing countries was considered essential if production was to meet increasing demand. Further weight was added to the role the technology is already playing in competing grain production systems when Argentina's Agriculture Minister, Miguel Santiago Campros, spoke. He said GM technology formed the basis of his country's crop expansion plans, and its drive to improve grain quality in response to customer demands. Mr Campros said Argentina was aiming to increase its total grains harvest from last year's 71 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes by 2010. The country's soybean production had already trebled in just seven years through the use of GM technology. One of the Australian industry representatives at the conference was Victorian grower and GRDC board member Ross Johns. He said the conference was "very upbeat" about the opportunities for gene technology, and biotechnology generally. "However, it now has to be asked how Australia is going to match the success of countries like Argentina," he said. Other features of the conference included a call by Argentina for a fair multilateral trading system for all countries, and for more world pressure on the United States' agricultural subsidies, which last year totalled $US14.9 billion ($A21.3 billion). Trade reforms were also touched on by Egypt's Mr Khedr, who called on importing countries to join forces to tackle "over-pricing" by exporters, signalling a move to coordinate further downward pressure on world prices. One positive note for Australia came from a representative of the new Iraq Government, who wanted to make it clear that his country was back in the market and was very satisfied with Australia as a reliable supplier of high-quality wheat. The GRDC regards research into gene technologies, including gene modification, as crucial for the grains industry. A special report outlines the main issues facing growers Global challenge on GM Australia risks losing out as rivals press on Roving reporter: After the conference, Ross Johns visited the Vavilov Institute in St Petersburg, and looked at the state of development of the grains industry in the Ukraine. His report is on page 18. OUR COMMITMENT SHOWS OUR COMMITMENT SHOWS REN NH3961/GCST www.newholland.com INDEX EDITORIAL OPINION 2 ADDING VALUE 11 ACCURATE SPRAYING 17 YOUR SOILS PROGRAM 21 HIGH GRAINS 26 CEREAL RUSTS 30 THE GENE SCENE 32 NUFFIELD SCHOLARS 33 WEATHER 34 GROUND COVER DIRECT 35 The enemy underground LIFTOUT SUPPLEMENT EIGHT PAGES OF REPORTS ON MANAGING SUBSOIL CONSTRAINTS Why EPRs don't double dip PAGE 3 NORTHERN REGION By BERNIE REPPEL Bob Henzell brought a laugh at the AgForce Grains Dinner during the Brisbane Show in August when he drolly suggested that after more than 40 years in the business he was more "the grandfather" of Australian sorghum breeding, than its "father". Principal plant breeder with Queensland's Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPI&F) and co-leader of the GRDC national sorghum breeding program, Dr Henzell had just been awarded the AgForce/ Graincorp Research and Development Award for 2004. Ever since his PhD in the early 1970s at the Texas A&M University, one of the world's leading sorghum research centres, Dr Henzell has been a driving force behind sorghum development in Australia. He says his career as a plant breeder has been a rewarding one: "When you are successful it's an area where you really do make a difference to farming, and to the environment." He regards the development of midge resistance and the new "stay green" trait as being career highlights. He believes stay-green -- delayed leaf ageing,which helps the sorghum plant continue filling its grain in water-limited situations -- will emerge as an extremely significant development. "But really I get a buzz every time I drive through the countryside and see the sorghum crops and know our breeding program has made a contribution to these crops," he says. Dr Henzell moved straight into sorghum breeding after graduating from the University of Queensland, with a posting to the Hermitage Research Station, outside Warwick, under breeder Ron Moore. After a spell at the Biloela Research Station, in Cental Queensland, Dr Henzell went to the Texas A&M University. He made contacts there that continue to deliver collaborative benefits to the Australian breeding program, which develops germplasm lines of sorghum that are licensed to seed companies for incorporation in commercial hybrids. Sorghum 'grandfather' wins research award Still getting a buzz: Dr Bob Henzell.
Ground Cover 053 December-January 2005 - North
Ground Cover 051 August-September 2004 - North