Bayer Wheat & Oilseed yesterday opened its new state-of-the-art Breeding Centre at Longerenong which will be researching wheat and canola varieties suited to Australian conditions in order to increase productivity of Australian farmers.
According to the media release by the Premier of Victoria, the Victorian Coalition Government has backed the project with $1.24 million that will be used to upgrade the access road to the new facility.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for Bayer’s new breeding centre, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to support the company’s initiative that would help drive productivity and profitability growth for Victoria’s regional farming communities and create new jobs in the state.
“Global demand for wheat is growing at twice the rate of productivity, and this kind of research positions Victoria ideally to help to meet the needs of the world,” Mr Walsh said.
“Research will include developing varieties with higher yields and with productivity improvements tailored to tackle issues such as drought, diseases and pests. The new Bayer Centre complements the investment the Victorian Coalition Government is making at the Grains Innovation Park at nearby Horsham, where an extensive pulse breeding program is already underway.”
According to data, grain overtook dairy in 2012/13 as Victoria’s highest valued food and fibre, with overseas exports reaching the $2.2 million benchmark.
“It is research like this which will help Victorian grain growers play a role in meeting the Victorian Coalition Government’s target to double Victoria’s food and fibre production by 2030.”
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the Bayer Wheat & Oilseeds Breeding Centre was a significant investment in regional Victoria which will create 20 new jobs and bring a wealth of knowledge to the Wimmera.
“The centre is one of seven around the world, and it will give Victorian researchers the chance to travel to other locations around the world, as well as to receive and work with international scientists here at Longerenong. Most importantly, this centre will also provide the students attending Longerenong the opportunity to observe and engage with researchers and scientists at this world class facility,” Mr Delahunty said.
The Victorian Coalition Government had provided $1.24 million toward the development of all-weather road access to the Bayer CropScience facility, with $1.14 million provided from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and $100,000 from the Department of Education and Childhood Development.