Taking the stress out of plant life

I heard a funny story from a biology teacher the other day. In a discussion about stress in plants a student says to the teacher “plants are rooted Miss”. The teacher looks a bit mortified and the student replies “they are rooted because they cant get up and move when they are under stress’

its stressful being a plant

Grain crops under stress – get this stuff off me

So loving this story shared with me yesterday Plants freak out  like animals when stressed. Extract

Both plants and animals produce a neurotransmitter known as GABA, which stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. This acid is primarily produced when the organism is under stress: when it’s hungry, or scared, or exposed to pathogens or (in the case of plants) acidity or salinity.

What has only been suggested up until now is that the presence of this acid acts as a signal to tell the plant to behave in a certain way. That’s changed now. According to the authors of the ARC study, “We’ve discovered that plants bind GABA in a similar way to animals, resulting in electrical signals that ultimately regulate plant growth when a plant is exposed to a stressful environment.”

Breeding plants for stress reduction

With the help of farmer levies from the GRDC the CSIRO are breeding plants that are more stress and disease tolerant to help our grain farmers supply safe, affordable and nutritious food to Australian families

Seed to Store – creating a buzz around grains

Young Farming Champion Dan Fox certainly got a great opportunity this week to combine his two first loves – teaching and food production (apologies to his girlfriend)

Dan is a very bright young man who completed HSC physics and maths in Year 10. As I always struggled with physics and maths I am just awestruck that some people can do this

When Dan completed his HSC he went off to Uni to become a teacher. After completing his degree he found his farming roots calling him back to the farm where is waking up every day committed to growing the best grain for your weetbix, the barley for your beer and the canola oil for your salad and helping turn spring into that amazing colour carpet splendour that is canola in flower.

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Dan Fox in the canola

At the invitation of the Grains Research and Development Corporation which funds Dan to be a Young Farming Champion Dan had a whirlwind trip to South Australia to help promote the Seed to Store Video Competition

As part of the team who did the ‘Seed to Store – Story of Australian Grain’ schools presentation sessions today Dan visited Urrbrae Agricultural High School and Oakbank Area School and presented to over 400 secondary school students.

The hour long sessions looked at the Australian grains industry, growing great grains, plant breeding for quality food products and careers in grains / agriculture.

Dan shared his journey with the students, speaking about his career, sustainable farming and opportunities in the grains industry and knowing Dan I am positive the crowds loved him!

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There was lots of activities, quizzes, plant crosses, prizes

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Apparently this young man was asked to  “emasculate” a plant! Priceless!

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Dough stretching competition – learning about gluten and dough quality

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everyone had lots of fun including Dan front and centre here

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You can find out everything you need to know about the competition here

Seed to Store CompetitionCheck Cosi in the video clip here

Grain industry sponsors next crop of Young Farming Champions

We have some exciting news

Australia’s leading grains research organisation, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), is joining forces with Art4Agriculture as a sponsor for the 2014 Young Farming Champion program.

This also means schools participating in the Archibull Prize will have the opportunity to understand the interconnectedness of the landscape, their health and the Australian farmers who produce their food and fibre and showcase the grains industry on their artworks and through their blogs   

Our new partnership with GRDC and the next generation of grain growers will propel Wheat quoteAustralia’s grain industry towards a more innovative, rewarding and vibrant future as part of an exciting new partnership announced this week.

GRDC will join Australian Wool Innovation, MLA’s Target 100 campaign and Cotton Australia and Pauls and sponsor rising stars of the grain industry to become Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions (YFC)

Their YFC will tour schools across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, sharing the story of agriculture and sustainable food and fibre production. Grain Young Farming Champions will become respected youth spokespeople for the grain industry, encouraging consumers to be proud of and support Australian farmers.

GRDC Program Manager Capacity Building Kathleen Allan says the GRDC is very pleased to be an industry partner in the Art4 Agriculture program in 2014. “Art4Agriculture is an exciting initiative that provides professional development opportunities for young people in the grains industry and increases awareness amongst school children of the importance of agriculture and the range of career opportunities in the sector,” Ms Allan says.

“The GRDC invests in a range of skills and capacity building activities that are aimed at supporting current and potential future members of the Australian grains industry to improve their capacity to lead, learn, change, innovate and advance the industry,” she says.

At Art4Agriculutre we believe agriculture’s young people are the future. Without them we lose a generation of leaders, innovators and workers who may seek opportunities elsewhere.

We would like to congratulate GRDC on being a leader in engaging, nurturing and building the capacity of young people in the grains industry.

For more information on the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion program visit: http://www.art4agriculture.com.au/yfc