GRDC to host EP research update forums

GUEST SPEAKER: Dr Rob Norton will discuss soil nutrients at the Grains Research Updates in Kimba and Cummins.

GUEST SPEAKER: Dr Rob Norton will discuss soil nutrients at the Grains Research Updates in Kimba and Cummins.

The dry start to the season on the Eyre Peninsula will be the main focus of two forums hosted by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) next month.

The Grains Research Updates at Kimba on August 10 and Cummins on August 11 will look at factoring the dry start into grain growers’ systems strategies for the 2017 cropping season.

The updates will include a line-up of expert speakers from around the country, providing local growers with advice and insights to support them through this year and beyond.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel member Mark Stanley said the recent rainfall created a more optimistic outlook in the farming community, however the rainfall deficit early in the season would continue to be felt.

“Many growers are certainly more upbeat now that we have received some rain,” Mr Stanley said.

“Even if we end up having an average or slightly below average season, the recent increase in grain prices, which will hopefully hold up, is going to help growers in terms of cost recovery and at least breaking even.

“The outlook has definitely improved but there are various impacts from the dry start that growers will need to consider over the coming months.”  

Dr Rob Norton from the International Plant Nutrition Institute will address soil nutrients at the updates.

Dr Norton, from Victoria, will discuss the status of nitrogen and phosphorus applied at sowing and how much of these nutrients is likely to carry through from this season into 2018.

The impacts of the dry start on herbicide effectiveness and weed management decisions will be the topic of a presentation by the University of Adelaide’s Chris Preston who will look at pre-emergent herbicide behaviour and performance given the dry start.

Wharminda-based consultant and grower Ed Hunt will provide advice on the proactive management decisions growers can make in response to the season, taking into consideration the longer-term viability of their businesses.

Apart from season-related discussions, speakers will bring growers up to a date on a range of research developments.

The CSIRO’s Rick Llewellyn will outline progress being made in the concept of virtual fencing and how this could assist future grain and grazing operations, while Brad Nutt from Murdoch University in Western Australia will discuss new varieties of pasture legumes and new techniques for harnessing the dual benefits of grazing and cropping these species.

Amanda Cook from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) will speak at Kimba on crop competition options available to growers in managing barley grass in their farming systems.

The Kimba update, to be held in partnership with the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation, will be at the Kimba Football and Netball Clubrooms, and the Cummins Update, partnered by the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association, will be at the Cummins Rambler Football Clubrooms.

Both events will be from 9am to 1pm, with lunch to follow.