Funding cash splash to unlock opportunities for ag institute

Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute benefits from NSW Government funding

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NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall cuts the ribbon on the Wagga Wagga Agriculture Institute's new pasture shed. Photo: Supplied

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall cuts the ribbon on the Wagga Wagga Agriculture Institute's new pasture shed. Photo: Supplied

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Seed research and gene technology at heart of Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute's funding injection.

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THE Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute is set to help the state's producers stay on top of cutting edge- research thanks to a funding injection from the state government.

Unveiled by NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall last Friday, the site's new NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Advanced Gene Technology Centre and pasture shed were officially opened.

The $1.5 million pasture shed will act as a research station for the NSW DPI to develop ways to tackle issues facing croppers and graziers such as soil acidity.

Access roads to the new state-of-the-art facility as well as preparation rooms, cool rooms and bulk storage have been covered by the funds, which makes up part of the government's $100 million investment into the state's agricultural research sector.

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"This $1.5 million investment allows us to consolidate the cutting-edge work that already happens at the Wagga Wagga Ag Institute into a single purpose-built facility," Mr Marshall said.

"Sub-soil acidity, for example, puts a $378 million hole in farmers' pockets each year in lost production [and] scientists will be tackling that issue under this new roof.

"Already, our researchers have conducted long-term liming experiments which demonstrate the yield loss of crops was 50 per cent greater in soils not treated with lime.

"I recently announced the state's primary industries was now worth almost $21 billion, so this investment in critical research infrastructure will allow NSW agriculture's value to only grow."

Wagga Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr, NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute director Deb Slinger officially open the Advanced Gene Technology Centre. Photo: Supplied

Wagga Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr, NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute director Deb Slinger officially open the Advanced Gene Technology Centre. Photo: Supplied

The site's new Advanced Gene Technology Centre is predicted to help double farm productivity across the state through providing new facilities for researchers to explore the latest developments in genetic technologies.

"Plants and livestock will be more resilient to the challenges of drought, frost and salinity, as well as more resistant to pests and disease thanks to the research coming out of our new Advanced Gene Technology Centre," Mr Marshall said.

"By building advanced infrastructure, we equip our scientists with the capabilities to be at the forefront of scientific advancements, including fast-tracking new opportunities to selectively alter genes and pathways.

"Over the next 20 years, we expect the rates of genetic gain in NSW to more than double.

"Advanced genetic technologies, including synthetic biology, gene editing, environmental DNA, and rapid complete genome sequencing and analysis, are all key sciences likely to transform the productivity and biosecurity of our primary industries."

The funding comes after the NSW Government announced a $10 million grant for chickpea research and infrastructure at the Tamworth Agricultural Institute in December 2020, which is nearing completion.

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