New glasshouse helping to safeguard future crops

The Victorian Government is backing a new state-of-the-art plant quarantine facility to accelerate the delivery of new and improved crop varieties to Australian farmers.

Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas was in Horsham to officially open the new $4 million Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility which is part of the Australian Grains Genebank – the national centre for preserving grain crop genetic resources in Australia.

The Australian Grains Genebank is a partnership between the Victorian Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), which each invested $2 million towards the PEQ facility.

The impressive 400-square-metre PEQ glasshouse is fitted with LED lighting and a wi-fi enabled irrigation system, allowing researchers to grow and evaluate more seeds faster, while adhering to Australia’s stringent biosecurity and emerging international quarantine requirements.

Seeds must pass through quarantine processes before being distributed to plant breeders and researchers. The process at this facility will involve growing out the seed and carrying out a range of tests to ensure it is free from exotic pests and diseases.

The fully automated glasshouse can accommodate 3900 pots and two-and-a-half growth cycles per year, expediting the quarantine process and helping to ensure improved crop varieties get to farmers faster.

This Victorian facility will be the premier grain quarantine facility nationally – supporting the Australian Grains Genebank to continue its vital role for food security and the future success of grain production.

The Australian Grains Genebank PEQ facility is part of the Government’s new Agriculture Strategy which is working towards enhancing the commercialisation of research and ensuring our agriculture sector is well placed to be stronger, more innovative and sustainable.

Source: Vic Government