Grains research panel tours region

RESEARCH: Todd Matthews of Kyancutta, Mark Siviour of Murlong and GRDC Southern Panel chair John Bennett.
RESEARCH: Todd Matthews of Kyancutta, Mark Siviour of Murlong and GRDC Southern Panel chair John Bennett.

Members of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Region Panel have this week toured the Eastern Eyre Peninsula, meeting with local growers and researchers.

About 20 panel members and staff from across Australia are touring the Eyre Peninsula on their annual spring tour, held in a different region this year.

Panel chair John Bennett said the annual tours were about making sure GRDC had a genuine understanding of the issues faced by their clients across the country.

"The main reason is for the panel and also the staff to come out to the Eyre Peninsula and get a more intimate understanding of the issues that specifically affect growers on the EP," he said.

The Eastern Eyre Peninsula section of the tour began with a farm visit in Kimba, where Mr Bennett said he was impressed with the innovation of local growers in addressing issues faced in the region.

He said the willingness of local growers to be innovative to improve their soils "shone out" over the course of the visit, and he was impressed with the way farmers were managing yet another difficult season.

"It's pretty amazing how good the crops actually are considering the amount of rainfall we've had, and I think that's a testament to the skill of the growers in the region," he said.

A visit to the new port facility at Lucky Bay in the afternoon sparked conversation among the group, who Mr Bennett said were interested to see how the introduction of competition to the supply chain would affect outcomes for growers.

He said the facility looked as though it was "well thought out and well set up," and he had heard of similar concepts in other states succeeding.

"If it delivers cost savings for farmers, the end result's got to be good," he said.

"Time will tell."

On Wednesday, the group headed to a property at Murlong where GRDC has been investing in research to increase productivity and mitigate water repellence constraints in sandy soils.

Panel members and local growers were able to speak to Uni SA researcher Jack Desbiolles who gave an overview of the work being done on the property.

Mr Bennett said the tour also gave GRDC an opportunity to stay updated on its research investments and continue the relationships with the researchers and growers involved.