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New WA projects squarely target grower issues

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, says a new group of western region investments aims to fill gaps in knowledge around priority issues identified by WA growers. Photo: GRDC

Grower-identified issues ranging from drone use through to lime incorporation are the focus of a diverse range of new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investments in Western Australia.

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, said the group of shorter-term projects was the direct result of extensive consultation with WA growers and industry.

“The GRDC takes seriously its purpose of investing in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers, and these new investments aim to address some of the challenges facing WA growers at the moment,” she said.

“It is vitally important the GRDC responds to emerging issues in a timely manner and that RD&E is locally targeted and aims to fill gaps in knowledge around priority areas.”

Ms Wheeler said grain grower and stakeholder consultation in WA occurred through the GRDC’s Western Regional Panel; the GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) groups; annual RCSN ‘open forums’; tours in cropping areas by key GRDC personnel; and networking at field days and industry events.

“The RCSNs and GRDC Western Regional Panel are key groups facilitating this two-way exchange of information between the GRDC and growers,” she said.

WA’s five RCSN groups identify issues critical to ensuring the prosperity of the grains industry in their specific grain receival port zones and help to initiate local projects, while the GRDC Western Regional Panel assists in developing and prioritising the GRDC’s RD&E investment portfolio at a local, regional and national level.

Ms Wheeler said that in addition to shorter-term investments, the GRDC continued to invest in and plan longer-term RD&E projects addressing key western region priorities such as weeds, soil constraints, nutrition, frost, disease and pests.

The recently announced shorter-term projects, and groups conducting the RD&E, include:

  • Incorporating lime to depth in duplex grainbelt soils (Facey Group) – which aims to quantify the value of lime applications using a range of incorporation methods and to compare economic and agronomic returns
  • Investigating return on investment for using drones to monitor growth patterns in broadacre cropping in WA (Farmanco) – the primary objective is to produce a practical economic analysis to help support growers when making tactical decisions throughout the season
  • Benefits of foliar micronutrients for cereal crops in a low rainfall environment (Liebe Group) – which aims to address and improve grower understanding of micronutrient management using decision-support tools
  • Tactics for improving rooting depth and crop yield on sodic soils (Mingenew-Irwin Group) – which aims to evaluate possible strategies for growing more grain on soils that have been identified as sodic at depth, specifically in medium-low rainfall environments
  • Halving the estimated $90 million worth of canola harvest losses in WA (Planfarm) – addressing the issue that canola growers in WA are believed to lose about $75 per hectare worth of grain out of the rear of the harvester every year
  • Bagging grain profits – technical assessment of the use of silo bags in the WA supply chain (South East Premium Wheat Growers Association) – investigating grain quality factors including: moisture; temperature; germination; colour; as well as market liability risks associated with the use of silo bags
  • Improving crop emergence through the better use of seeding technologies (West Midlands Group) – which will investigate the impact that seeding configuration has on the timely emergence of crops across several soil types.
  • Seeding systems to improve cereal crop establishment on heavy textured soils (Corrigin Farm Improvement Group) – which will demonstrate the most profitable tined seeding system for improved cereal crop establishment on medium to heavy textured soils in the eastern grainbelt.

Source: GRDC

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