Seed Breeding Innovation

01/12/21 01:33 PM Comment(s) By FIAL

Radicle Seeds Australia | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021

Radicle Seeds Australia specialises in breeding exceptional cultivars that meet the specific needs of growers. As grower-driven seed breeding innovators, the company finds cropping solutions that meet regional challenges and provide consistent long-term yields. 

Radicle Seeds Australia is a farmer-owned and -operated entity. Located in central Queensland, the Radicle team is acutely aware of the impact that difficult growing conditions can have on yield consistency. 

Seed companies tend to be risk-averse, favouring an approach that delivers steady results using established products, programs and practices. Formed by a self-described group of ‘habitual problem solvers’, the Radicle attitude aligns with the company name, developing innovative ways to address niche problems rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Driven by a willingness to be dynamic and try new alternatives, the Radicle team saw merit in creating regionally adaptive crop varieties to suit Australia’s variable climate and growing conditions, designed to adapt to seasonal changes and provide growers with consistent long-term yields — the key to agricultural profitability. 

The company’s first foray was Agitator, an extremely tough waxy sorghum designed to tolerate both pre- and post-flowering stress. It is developed specifically for Australian growing conditions and unlike anything else on the market. Success of Agitator in Northern NSW, Southern and Central Queensland led to further development, resulting in a second sorghum seed — Brazen — a variety better suited to deeper soils and higher yield applications. Rounding out Radicle’s current product offering is a BMR corn fodder product that delivers grazing corn for cattle with better palatability and improved protein conversion. 

The same innovative spirit that has driven product development is also pushing Radicle to find new opportunities. Thanks to the company’s relationship with FIAL, 2020 saw Radicle successfully explore the feed and export markets and a newly identified opportunity could see Radicle seeds used as an input into gluten-free beer. 

Martin Tower was brought in to manage Radicle when the competing demands of day-to-day farm management and development of new business opportunities became too much. The company’s relationship with FIAL was established prior to his involvement, but Martin sees the connection as invaluable. 

“Our direct relationship is important, but it’s also about the doors that are opened because of our connection. For example, it’s quite difficult for primary producers to speak directly with processors. There is generally a broker in the middle who has their own network, which may or may not suit you. You don’t necessarily know that there are other people out there looking for what you’ve got. That association with FIAL is important because it facilitates introductions. We would probably never have done what we’re doing without

their support,” he said. 

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