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Emerge Program Grants

The Emerge program is a pilot pre-incubator run by GGA in partnership with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The program involves a bespoke small grants round to facilitate the development of ideas that will help WA farmers and the agri-food sector prosper in hotter and more variable climates and build greater resilience to more frequent seasonal droughts. The Program is designed to help producer recipients forge a pathway into the innovation ecosystem, making the jump from producer to developer more accessible.

GGA CEO Rikki Foss said the Program was timely as growers across the state are already facing the challenges of greater climate variability. “This program empowers those who are affected to bring their ideas to the forefront and be part of the solution for all WA growers,” she said.

The program has awarded small grants of over $22,000 split between three Western Australian farmers committed to improving water use and efficiency. Grantees Jay Elliott (Pinjarra), and Ben Johnston (Margaret River) have each received funding to develop a product to assist farmers with water supply in drier years in livestock and viticulture, respectively. They are joined by Nyabing grower Ben Hobley who is exploring a farming practice to support decision making and increase yield and quality in hotter, drier seasons. Ms Elliott said the Program gave her and fellow recipients invaluable insights to mobilise their ideas.

Participants have praised the program for providing insights, opportunities, and access to expertise, facilitating collaboration among innovators as well as increasing their confidence to engage in innovation and take empowered steps to progress their ideas. The CSIRO Drought Resilience Mission lead, Dr. Graham Bonnett, also highlighted the program’s role in guiding and mentoring farmers with ideas in their early stages of development, expressing satisfaction with the program’s initiation and CSIRO’s involvement in the mentoring process.

The Emerge program reflects the GGA’s dedication to supporting emerging talent and fostering leadership within the agricultural field. 

Projects Summary

Reducing evaporation in livestock water troughs through automated delivery of an evaporation retardant.

Innovation: Design and testing of a cost-effective automated delivery mechanism that delivers precise release of an evaporation suppressant to water intake pipes in livestock water troughs.

Drought resilience: Open water storage is indispensable for all livestock operations. Nonetheless, in arid climates, the challenge lies in mitigating water loss and maintaining water quality due to evaporation. Addressing this concern will not only enhance water conservation but also play a pivotal role in improving water quality across arid and semi-arid areas.

Vineyard automation to manage irrigation application to meet plant demand based on shoot numbers.

Innovation: Development of automated systems, including robotics, imagery, and modelling software, to assess shoot numbers in vineyards to optimise scheduling of irrigation to match plant demand.

Drought resilience: A better understanding of available water resources, coupled with a precise understanding of plant requirements based on biomass, will enable the proactive application of water to match vine demand. This proactive insight allows irrigation to be scheduled more precisely to match plant demand that in turn improves water allocation decision making and planning and provides an informed decision-making process regarding implementation of alternative strategies, such as hay mulching, shoot and crop reduction, to reduce financial losses during a hot and dry season.

Reducing abiotic stress through improved nutrition for low rainfall dryland cropping systems in hotter and drier climates.

Innovation: Early development of a decision tree to support decision making regarding the application of trace and minor nutrients to increase yield and crop quality during hotter and drier seasons whilst being conservative with the costly inputs of major nutrients.

Drought resilience: A better understanding of the impact of trace and minor nutrients on abiotic stress, such as water scarcity, in cereal crops will allow farmers to manage plant nutrition and increase productivity in a changing climate such as warmer or drier season finishes.

Grant Guidelines


This program has been financially supported by CSIRO


GGA Innovation Manager, Dr Jo Wisdom talks to ABC rural and resources reporter, Hayden Smith on the Northern WA Rural Report. Listen here.


For more information about this program, please contact GGA’s Innovation Manager, Joanne Wisdom.


Posted on

06 Mar 2022