Australia Seed Industry News

This page features a compilation and selection of Australian seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on news and events that impact or affect locales and countries in the Commonwealth of Australia, and all of its states and territories (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania).

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked. This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first. 

NSW Farmers Hit By Flooding: Mar 21: Devastating floods along the coast of New South Wales have wreaked havoc on roads, property and crops in the area. Farmers have been particularly hard hit by the floods and are now warning of rising food prices due to crop damage and stock losses across all agricultural sectors. Farmers are also reporting that even undamaged crops are not able to be harvested as conditions are too wet and dangerous. “This wet weather combined with labour shortages will contribute to higher food prices including core lines in the supermarkets,” said Paul Shoker, president of the local branch of the NSW Farmers. According to Mr. Shoker, blueberries and bananas could experience a shortage at a national level. Similarly, cattle farmers in NSW are also reeling from the effect of the floods after still struggling to recover from a recent drought. An increase in rainfall was welcomed by cotton growers further inland which had not been affected by the floods, with cotton picking expected to begin around the middle of April. The north of NSW has also been less impacted with farmers preparing to sow crops after the recent rainfall. A positive effect of the flooding could be controlling the mouse population according to Walgett agronomist Simon Logan, "How much rainfall we need to get the numbers to be reduced to a level that's not going to have any impact on our cropping program is yet to be seen". Read original story here and here.

 

GM Moratorium to be lifted in NSW: Mar 2: New South Wales will lift its 18-year moratorium on GM crops at the beginning of July. The move was welcomed by farming lobby groups but met with concern from organic growers concerned about contamination from windblown seeds and pollen. According to a March 2 announcement by Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall, the Gene Technology Act 2003 would be allowed to expire on 1 July 2021. See announcement on NSW Department of Primary Industries website here. In a news release response, Chief Executive Officer of the ASF, Mr Osman Mewett commended Minister Marshall and the Berejiklian Government for this demonstration of commitment and support for agricultural innovation and the state’s farming sector. “Allowing the moratorium to expire sends a clear signal to technology developers and seed companies that NSW is ‘open for business’ and encourages investment to bring agricultural innovations to the state” Mr Mewett said. See interview by ABC Australia with Mr Mewett here. The announcement from NSW leaves Tasmania as the only state with a moratorium on growing GM crops, which is in place until 2029. According to NSW agriculture minister Adam Marshall, GM technology could generate around USD 3.7 billion in benefits to the state over the next decade. Added benefits of GM include the potential to remove allergens, improve taste, nutrition, drought and frost tolerance. See news story here 

Cereal crop world record nearly broken by canola farmer: February 25: A farm in Central Tablelands, New South Wales, has achieved an astonishing crop of 7.16 tonne per hectare of a dual purpose winter canola, just 3 kilograms short of the official world record. Farm manager Peter Brooks said of the achievement, "We've had great conditions in 2020, but achieving this yield didn't happen overnight - it was a culmination of 15 years of working with CSIRO to improve our systems”. Using a conservative price of USD 420 per tonne, the crop yielded USD 3,000 per hectare. Read original story here

Species burnt by bushfires study: February 2021: The bushfires that raged across Australia in 2019 to 2020 were responsible for the destruction of more than 19 million acres, and the burning of 116 plant species According to researchers quoted in an article, most of the affected species are are resilient to fire, though some ecosystems may be susceptible to regeneration failure and landscape-scale decline. Data indicates that 816 vascular plant species in mainland south-eastern Australia were highly impacted by the Black Summer fires … Read more here

Weed seed terminator cleans 1.6 million hectares: February 2021: Since being used first in 2016, the Australian designed  “Seed Terminator”, which  attaches to headers, for use at harvest, has helped to clean 1,650,000 hectares of Australian paddocks. The units perform particularly well with fully ripe crops, including peas, legumes, canola, lupin and cereal crops, effectively killing weed seeds, “including those that have escaped or resisted the various stages of herbicide spraying.”  The units, which have been tested at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, can reportedly kill 99% of notoriously tough ryegrass seeds. Read more here.

ABARES Outlook 2021 conference to be virtual: The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will be hosting the “ABARES Outlook 2021” conference virtually this year, from 2-55 March. To register, get more details, visit ABARES Outlook page

ASA 2020 Certified Seed Statistical Reports: The Australian Seeds Authority has published its 2020 ASA Certified Seed Statistical reports. The reports have been made available by the Australian Seed Federation, and include OECD Certified Seed 2010-11 to 2019-20 here; Total Certified Seed Australia 2016-17 to 2019-20 (here) and Area Registered for Certification to 15 Dec 2020 (here)

Import permit requirement for Apiaceous vegetable seeds: Starting 30 March 2021, an import permit will be mandated for several apiaceous seed species imported for sowing and human consumption. These include Anthriscus cerefolium (chervil); Apium graveolens (celery); Foeniculum vulgare (fennel); Pastinaca sativa (parsnip) and Petroselinum crispum (parsley). The requirement was announced by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment back in December. Shipments imported prior to March 30 will not be subject to the requirement. Importers can apply for import permits through BICON. 

For more details on above and other Australia seed industry news, see the Australian Seed Federation’s January 2021 newsletter here.

Non-compliant ‘risky’ seeds continue to be intercepted: January 2021:
Officers at Australia’s Department of  Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) in 2020 had reportedly intercepted 45,000 “risky seed parcels” at the country’s international mail centre, and continue to intercept more since the start of the new year. Farm Weekly reports on the issue, citing an interview with acting chief plant protection officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, who revealed that seeds made up 75% of total biosecurity risk interceptions in the mail last year. The department has asked recipients of any suspicious seeds to report online via awe.gov.au/report or call 1800 798 636. 

Seed libraries in Victoria, Melbourne and Western Australia: January 2021:
The Moonee Valley Libraries’ Seed Library is among a handful of public libraries that offer the public free seeds, which are collected via donation from people who harvested them at home. Among the seed library programs listed in an article include ones at Eastern Regional Libraries, Castlemaine and Woodend libraries and at sites across the City of Darebin including Jika Jika and Alphington community centres. At Moonee Valley Libraries, members can take up to three seed packets per visit, each with 10 to 15 seeds. “During Melbourne's second COVID-19 lockdown, library staff mailed over 140 envelopes, each containing at least five packets of seeds, to members.” The seeds include those of tomatoes, pumpkins, carrots, chillis, parsley, as well as marigolds and Russian sunflowers. Read more here.  Likewise, in Western Australia, the new Denmark Seed Library is making available free vegetable and herb seeds. The library’s collection includes seeds collected from a certified organic garden, including 16 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins and beans, in addition to daikon radish, kohlrabi and buckwheat. Since the library was launched last November, more than “130 packets of seed have been borrowed by 60 members.” Read more here

Nufarm hoping for turnaround: January 2021:
Australia's homegrown farm chemical and seed technology multinational, Nufarm, has big hopes for a turnaround in European crop protection sales following a $456 million loss last year. Farm Weekly reports that the company saw overall revenue rise nearly 50 % in October and November. Read full story here.

Orange capsicum hold key to counter blindness: January 2021:
According to research by the University of Queensland, orange capsicums are among the richest sources of the orange pigment zeaxanthin,which helps to protect against macular degeneration, which is responsible for half of all cases of blindness in Australia. Though the compound is found in other fruits and vegetables, "Orange capsicums are by far and wide the most generous source of zeaxanthin; nonetheless, there is a shortage of the orange capsicums due to expensive germplasm, though efforts are underway to make the capsicums more widely available. Read story in
ABC Australia here

2020 News

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December 2020

Biosecurity officers continue to intercept, get informed of ‘mystery seeds’: December 2020:
o less than 260 unidentified, unsolicited, or mystery seed parcels have been intercepted in parcels across Australia this year. According to ABC Australia, seeds made up 75 percent of biosecurity interceptions at Australian mail centres. News of such seeds was widely reported around the world in August. The seeds, according to this latest report, were said to be from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. Read original reports from APSA here.

New ‘green jobs’ in Western Australia include seeding, planting: December 2020:
The government of the State of Western Australia has making good of its AU$4 million Green Jobs Plan, which has been initiated in the Marlee Reserve in the Mandurah area. Work will include fencing, seeding, planting, managing environmental threats and improving native vegetation and habitat for wildlife. More projects are set to commence in the Midwest, Wheatbelt, South West and Great Southern regions. More details here

Despite authorities using detector dogs and x-ray machines to intercept 45,000 "risky" seed parcels at mail centres across the country, the mystery seeds were reported to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment by concerned community members, prompting fears more seeds could have escaped detection.

City council hires horticulturalist to harvest tree seeds ahead of road construction: December 2020:
Seeds are being harvested from native trees that will be removed to make way for construction of a new road in Orange, New South Wales. The horticulturist was hired to “harvest the seeds and propagate trees into advanced tube stock to be planted nearby once the road is finished.” According to the report, more trees will be planted at other sites around Orange to increase the native tree population in the area. Trees being planted include Apple Box (Eucalyptus bridgesiana) and Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), which are native to the area. More details here

What’ll happen to Wattle in Australia’s Space Program: December 2020:
The Gorokan Public School (GPS) is one of 150 schools in Australia that was selected to take part in a science experiment to find out ‘What’ll Happen to the Wattle’ under space conditions. Initiated by the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation, with support from the Australian and Japanese Space Agencies, the program aims to investigate the effects that space travel has on plant seeds, with participating schools set to receive a batch of wattle seeds that have spent six months aboard the International Space Station. Read more about the project here.

Myrtle Rust surveillance appeal in NSW: December 2020:
The New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is renewing appeals for Central Coast residents to be on the lookout for two local species susceptible to myrtle rust. Authorities aim to collect seeds from the threatened species, which both belong to the Myrtaceae family and native rainforest and rainforest margins on the Coast: Rhodamnia rubescens (scrub turpentine) and  Rhodomyrtus psidioides (native guava). Read more here.


Breeding white strawberry in Queensland:  December 2020:
Strawberry breeding activities by the Queensland Department of Agriculture's Maroochy research centre on the Sunshine Coast, have been focused on increasing shelf life, reducing waste and improving taste. One of the latest projects is a white strawberry. More details by ABC Australia here.

 

AUGUST 2020

Microbial seed coating promises to sequester more atmospheric CO2

A startup based along the East Coast of Australia is planting seeds coated in microbial fungi and bacteria as a promising technique to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The new microbial technology is based on research from the University of Sydney, which suggests that this technique has the potential to sequester a quarter of total CO2 emissions in the world if applied globally. According to this article: “Adding a blend of microbes to crops on a farm allows plants to store carbon more effectively. In the normal carbon cycle, a plant sucks up CO2 through photosynthesis, and some of the carbon ends up traveling through the plant’s roots into the soil. But some of that carbon is still lost fairly quickly back into the air. The coating of fungi and bacteria helps instead convert the carbon into a form that can last in the soil much longer, potentially hundreds of years…” 

North west Queensland potential as new Australian ag hub

Farmers, agriculture industry leaders and researchers are joining forces at the Northern Australian Crop Research Centre of Excellence (CSIRO) in Emerald to exploit and the expand the full potential of farmland in the north west part of Queensland.  Thus far, trials with cotton, soybeans,  mungbeans and black sesame have yielded promising results using water allocated from the Flinders and Gilbert rivers, near Hughenden and Georgetown. According to the CSIRO, as reported here “there are 16 million hectares of land across northern Australia suitable for intensive agriculture, and 15,000 gigalitres of water - enough to irrigate 1.5 million hectares” 

‘Cautiously optimistic’ for record grain, cropping forecast 

Australia is forecast to have one of its “biggest ever grain crops”according to many articles, including  this one by Grain Central. Citing an ANZ report, it is expected that the national wheat crop this year could reach 26 million tonnes, which would represent a 71% increase from last year’s 15.2 million tonne. Moreover, it is forecast that  wheat exports could increase by 90% to 17.5 million tonnes. This is despite a dry start to the year, and credited to timely rains. More details here. Also, in related new, barley and wheat prices have “softened” with the surplus of crop and rains, though prices of sorghum have gone up a bit, according to this report. Fueling optimism in Queensland is a strong winter cropping season, with farming efforts complemented by drones, credited with reducing chemical use, preserving  water, and expanding pasture sowing areas, according to this. Though despite such optimism, there is some uncertainty for the rest of the year, especially in Western Australia,  which does not report as high soil moisture as NSW, as reported here

Boosting Western Australia winter pasture growth through nitrogen fertiliser 

Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Agriculture and Food division has published an article providing detailed advice on how to increase dry dry matter production of grasses and broadleaf weeds, and thus  help reduce feed shortages in winter. The post advises on the application of nitrogen fertiliser in meat and wool enterprise pastures, which, if done properly, could yield an extra of 17 kilograms of dry matter per hectare of pasture for every kilogram of nitrogen applied, on average. Read full post here

Russian wheat aphid detected for first time in Western Australia

The Russian wheat aphid, which is pest that poses serious threats to the production of wheat, barley and oat crops, has for the first time been detected in Western Australia. According to an August 2020 report by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development the pest was detected in Western Australia’s southern wheat growing area for the first time despite having been detected in South Australia in 2016, and also currently present in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. “The department is asking WA grain growers and agronomists to survey cereal crops and grassy weeds for aphids and report any aphid activity or damage.” More details here.   

 

JUNE & JULY 2020

Northern Territory to release 100,000+ hectares of land for farming 

According to ABC Australia, the Northern Territory Land Corporation plans to release three large parcels of land onto the market. The largest of three parcels, dubbed the “Keep Plains Agricultural Development, spans 67,500ha near the Western Australia border. It adjoins WA’s Ord River agricultural developments  and “offers the potential to further establish a variety of commercial broadacre crops”. The second parcel is the Wildman Agricultural Precinct, which spans 26,000 ha and is located 135 kilometres east of Darwin. It reportedly “has the capacity to accommodate multiple agricultural and horticultural activities and high yield crops such as bananas, and including rain-fed forestry such as mahogany as well as cattle production”. The third parcel is the Larrimah Agricultural Precinct, covers 5,712ha, about 180km south of Katherine, will be ideal for territory “staples such as mangoes, citrus, and melons, as well as presenting opportunities for a range of dryland and irrigated crops and the development of intensified beef operations”

Tasmania research to look at hemp for sheep grazing, seed yield correlations

The Tasmanian Hemp Association (THA), with Agrifutures, an Australian Government backed organisation that promotes Australian rural industries, will study the potential of hemp as sheep fodder and whether grazing can affect seed yields. The research, revealed by the Hemp Gazette here, will examine five varieties of industrial hemp and assess the effects of genotype, grazing time and environment on the nutritional value. Research will also look at the impact of grazing on the yield of hemp seeds, and whether there is a corelation with yields. According to President of THA, Tasmania currently supplies more than 80 per cent of Australia’s hemp seed used in food applications. 

Australia exports first hemp seed shipment to NZ

Hemp Industry Daily reports that Australia has completed its first (legal) export consignment of hemp seeds. Though the quantity and value was not disclosed, the report notes that it is the first such consignment since the Australian government legalized low-THC hemp seeds for food or feed purposes in 2017.

Gravity seed table cleaning diminishes weed seeds: study

A study by the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), titled “Lessons learnt: crop-seed cleaning reduces weed-seed contamination in Western Australian grain samples” reveals that  commercial gravity table seed cleaning can remove nearly all weed seed from crop seed. According to the abstract on the University of Western Australia website here, before commercial seed cleaning, the average number of weed seeds was 184 per kilogram of crop seed; however, gravity table seed cleaning was shown to reduce the weed seed number to only one seed/kg.  

Mixed bag of winter weather for southern Australia crops

The North Queensland Register reports on the fickle Australian climate this winter season. While parts of coastal NSW and Queensland have suffered from flooding and excess rain that drenched central and southern coastal regions recently, conditions have been dry in other parts, especially South Australia, which has reportedly experienced one of its driest Julys on record;  western Victoria, likewise has also recorded below-average rainfall, posing concern for farmers. In related weather and cropping news, Grain Central reports that “Victoria, eastern South Australia and nearly all of New South Wales are looking at above-average yields provided adequate rain falls in the next few weeks, but prospects are shaky for many crops in Queensland, and most of SA’s central and western growing areas.”

 

MAY 2020

Recycled battery dust as fertilizer trials in WA

Mixed Metal Dust (MMD) extracted from recycled batteries is being explored as a potentially promising new fertilizer supplement. Trials in Western Australia’s wheatbelt region involve using zinc and manganese from recycled batteries as a potential source of ‘micronutrients’ in fertilisers.” reports Stockhead Australia. Initial findings suggest that crops’ uptake of the essential elements from the MMD was slower compared to  fertilizer-grade sulphate products but considering the massive amount of lithium batteries that are being produced and eventually disposed of, investment into further research and utilization is only beginning, with plans inked to distribute battery fertilizer in both Australia and New Zealand. 

 

APRIL 2020

ABARES optimistic about food security despite covid concerns

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has conducted a comprehensive report, entitled, “Analysis of Australia’s food security and the COVID-19 pandemic” in which it emphasizes that Australia is among the most food secure nations in the world, citing figures that the country “produces much more food than it consumes, exporting around 70% of agricultural production,”” while only importing “around 11% of food consumption by value.” Thus, the agency insists that “Australia does not have a food security problem, despite, what it notes as temporary shortages of some food items in supermarkets caused by an unexpected surge in demand. Nonetheless, the report notes that the seasonal outlook for the autumn of 2020 is positive, providing the basis of a recovery in Australian crop production and allowing for rebuilding of sheep flocks and cattle herds.

Gardening, seed supply shops report record demand

The Guardian reports that many seed supply shops and gardening centers across Australia have been selling out of vegetable seeds during the coronavirus pandemic, citing spurred demand fueled by widely-circulating concerns, fears for food security, even though supplies are assured to be sufficient.

Fruit, vegetable supply under threat as travellers stranded

As a result of covid travel restrictions forcing hotels, hostels and caravan parks to close, many work-and-travel holiday makers and seasonal workers have been unable to find accommodations, reports ABC Australia. The temporary workers are crucial to ensuring fruit and vegetable farmers have enough labour to plant and pick crops.The Federal Government said it will allow backpackers to extend their stays in Australia to help meet the agricultural labour demand, but many are being forced to sleep in their cars and camp in forests. 

South Australia formally lifts GM Moratorium

ABC Australia reports that the 16-year-old moratorium on GM-crops in South Australia has formally been lifted. Citing negotiations between opposition and the Primary Industries Minister, the article references an estimate that canola farmers have lost out on some $33 million since 2004. Councils who wish to remain GM-free can apply to an advisory council through the next six months. One such area that will continue to ban GM crops is Kangaroo island, citing its export market which depends on GM-free reputation. 

Positive outlook as rains spur seeding in WA

Bountiful Australian summer rain resulting in good subsoil moisture across much of Western Australia has lubricated the prospects and optimism for grain crop seeding this season. Farm Weekly on April 27 reported that many farmers have begun planting and preparations early for mainly canola, lupin and long-season wheat crops after pretty much all “regions, except north of Geraldton and down the south coast, had received a lot of useful rain with anywhere from 50 to 100 millimetres or more.” 

Human waste biosolids boost food crop productivity by 65% 

A research project being carried out by researchers at Federation University is utilizing human waste to boost productivity of grain crops in Victoria. The Grain Research Development Corporation-funded research project involves the application to soil biosolids processed from state sewage using state-of-the-art technology at water amelioration centres, described as “very good organic matter and rich with nutrients — all the minerals that are required for the crop growth,” The human waste is a viable alternative to more expensive lucerne pellets or chicken manure. More on the project from ABC Australia

Fall armyworm reaches Queensland ‘salad bowl’

ABC Australia reports that farmers in Queensland’s Wide Bay region are bracing for the infestation of the fall armyworm, following reports of detection in the Burdekin, the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, after initially being detected in Queensland in February at Bamaga, at the tip of Cape York and in the Torres Strait. The article notes that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is working with the other government agencies and industry to ensure timely access to products to help manage this new pest, having approved the use of several products in various fruit, vegetable, nut, broadacre crops and nursery stock. 

 

MARCH 2020

Department of Agriculture publishes advice notice

The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has published and is regularly updating a notice on its website, which includes up-to-date  information about agriculture services in Australia’s States and Territories link here

Vegetable Seed Policy Review

Dept of Agriculture is taking special consideration in evaluating risks in vegetable seed movements across borders, specifically reviewing eleven varieties in four families:

  • Apiaceae family​ (carrot, celery, parsley)

  • Brassicaceae family​ (cauliflower, cabbage)

  • Cucurbitaceae family​ (cucumber, gourd, melon)

  • Solanaceae family (capsicum, eggplant, tomato).

Farmers upbeat about returned rains, allay covid19 concerns, access to fertilizers, chemicals, etc

Farmers offer nomads option to stay on land, farm ABC Australia

SEEDLINGS, SEEDS SELLING OUT AT NURSERIES NATIONWIDE: ABC AUSTRALIA

 

FEBRUARY 2020

Australia launches IYPH 2020

The International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 was officially launched in Australia with an event on 6 February at Parliament House in Canberra. Attended by local and international governments, plant health authorities and exponents of the private sectors and industries, the event was presided over by Mr David Littleproud, Federal Minister for Agriculture of Australia, and prefaces a number of events and activities planned in Australia to promote plant health throughout the year. Asian Seed’s V26, Q1 issue, out in March 2020 features an article about initiatives and activities related to IYPH 2020 in the APSA region.

Fall Armyworm invades North Queensland

The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has been confirmed detected in Queensland. It had initially been detected in Erub and Saibai islands early in February. According to an official statement from Biosecurity Queensland General Manager Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity Mike Ashton, “… seven specimens of the pest were found in late January in traps set on the islands,” The pest cant feed on 350 species of crop, and particularly threatens several important cash crops in Queensland such as maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat. ABC Australia late in February reported that the pest was detected on a trial maize plot near Georgetown, 300km west of Cairns, and about 1,000 kilomters from its initial detction site. The article notes that 100 traps have been set to track the pests’ movements.

Lowest wheat output in 12 (or more) years

Reuters reports that Australian’s wheat harvest for the 2019-2020 season is likely to be the lowest in 12 or more years. Citing data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), output during the season was pegged at 15.17 million tonnes, which would make it the lowest since 2008, according to the article. One analyst quoted in the article suggests that output could be even lower — at 14.5 million tonnes — citing a shortage of rain in eastern Australia, which makes up a portion of the country’s wheatbelt. .

Trialing paddy on Tasmania

ABC Australia reports on the effort of one Australian farmer and his Borneo wife who are trialing 60 varieties of rice on their property near Port Arthur. While a limited quantity of rice are grown on mainland Australia, climate change and especially drought and soil salinity have hampered output in recent years; however, the farmer is banking on Tasmania’s unique agro-climatic conditions and anticipation for warmer temperatures to allow specific varieties of paddy to thrive on the island. (Editors Note: Time will tell

 

DECEMBER 2019 & JANUARY 2020

South Australia govt lifts GM Moratorium 

The Government of South Australia has lifted a moratorium on GM-crop cultivation, officially giving the green light for farmers in the state to plant GM seeds for the first time since the ban was introduced in 2004. According to this report,  farmers have lost out on millions in income as a result of the ban and stand to lose millions more as other Australian states have been permitted to plant certain GM-crops for a decade.  Nonetheless, there is still a possibility that the Federal government of Australia will reverse the decision, and reinstate the moratorium as has happened in the past, according to ABC Australia. This will become clear after Parliament resumes session in February.  Nonetheless, the lifting of the moratorium is confirmed on the Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) website, which states that  “Changes to regulations under the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004 will enable Genetically Modified (GM) food crops to be grown in South Australia with the exception of Kangaroo Island from 1 January 2020. These regulations will be tabled in Parliament in 2020 and will be subject to Parliamentary processes.”  For further information on efforts to encourage the government to lift the moratorium, see this website, which was developed with support from the Australian Seed Federation.

North Queensland breeder develops Australia’s ‘first seedless lychee’

NextShark reports on the fruits of labor of one breeder in Queensland who has begun marketing a seedless lychee variety that he said took him nearly 20 years to breed using strenuous conventional selective breeding and manual cross-pollination techniques. According to the report, which cites a CNA tv news report, the breeder imported a $5,000 lychee tree from China, and over many generations of selective breeding was able to yield a ‘seedless’ variety that reportedly tastes like pineapple.