NSW DPI Grain Quality Group


The food industry is the largest in the world, and the Australian grains industry contributes ~ $12.8 billion to the economy. The NSW DPI Grain Quality Group (GQG) is part of the Plant Systems Division of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The GQG includes seven researchers, located in one of five laboratories across three sites. This structure allows researchers to be based in the production area and research hub of their respective commodity. Our primary interests include pulses, rice, wheat (all grades, including durum) and canola, although we do work with other grains for both human and animal consumption.

NSW DPI grain quality research powers grower profitability, as: Profit = (Yield x Price - Cost) x Risk. Grain quality maximises price (price premiums for superior qualities; reduce defects to avoid price penalties; consistently meet specifications across diverse markets). Grain quality maximises yield (ensure yield gains do not compromise quality; increase value of processed products; improve viability, vigour and emergence; waste valorisation). Grain quality reduces cost (minimise agronomic inputs whilst maintaining grain quality; eliminate need for cleaning or grading grain; eliminate waste and re-purpose). Grain quality mitigates risk (competitive, demand driven market access; understand impact of GxExM on grain quality; tolerance to plant stresses and climate adaptation). The quality of grains (including wheat, pulses, rice, durum, oilseeds and feed grains) is a major driver of grower profits.


Our team mission is to increase and stabilise profitability for growers, enhance NSW agriculture, augment food quality and strengthen regional resilience. We do this by contributing to grain quality assessment, developing improved varieties with higher yield and adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses.

We provide independent grain quality evaluation, develop new methodologies to improve phenotyping and research to better understand genotype × environment × management interactions (G×E×M). We also conduct pre-breeding research, validate molecular markers and develop novel food innovations. Ensuring grain quality is included in productivity-focused grain research projects is critical to maximise profitability and minimise price penalties for growers.

The GQG is in a unique position to work directly with growers, as well as industry and other research collaborators. We can readily lead and respond to emerging consumer-driven market opportunities, both locally and internationally, because we understand product specifications, food industries and their domestic processing requirements. We also help develop new domestic and overseas market opportunities.

The GQG brings together professional teams with expertise covering the depth of NSW agri-food, promoting flexible, innovative multidisciplinary research. We welcome collaborations that build a stronger, profitable NSW agriculture. The GQG has independence, is trustworthy and free from conflicts of interest. Additionally, we provide a public good service and conduct important grains research along the value chain where industry gaps are identified.

NSW DPI grain quality expertise spans across the whole industry value chain encompassing: Pre-breeding research (method development, new technologies and genetic tools); Breeding (evaluating lines, new variety traits and classification, and phenotyping genetic populations); Agronomy/physiology effects on grain quality (GxExM, weather events and district/regional trials); At the farm gate research (harvest issues, grain classification, price, storage and shelf-life stability); Market access (exports, domestic markets and increasing diversification); Food science (variety performance, food as medicine, processing performance, sensory evaluation and consumer preferences/demand), and Economics (grower profitability and value chain). We have expertise in wheat, grain legumes (like chickpeas, faba bean, mungbean, etc), rice, durum, oilseeds (like canola) and feed grains.

For more information on the entire group please read our capability statement (PDF, 15020.18 KB) or email grain.quality@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Our Scientific Research Staff have the skills and capabilities to assist industry in any grain crop and related food science research or food industry challenge. While each laboratory specialises in particular grains, we also share common research interests applicable across all commodities (including functional foods, phytochemicals, plant-based protein and waste valorisation). We also supervise post graduate students.

You can read more about their research in the following links:

  • Dr Mike Sissons (Tamworth) – Durum wheat and pasta
  • Dr Jenny Wood (Tamworth) – Pulse quality (chickpea, faba bean, mung bean, etc) and barley malting
  • Dr Rachelle Ward (Yanco) – Rice grain quality and health
  • Jamie Ayton (Wagga Wagga) – Oilseeds, olives and oil quality
  • Denise Pleming (Wagga Wagga) – Wheat, noodles and bakery products
  • Richard Meyer (Wagga Wagga) – Feed grain composition and energy values