GM focus for Grower Group Alliance tour

21 May, 2008 01:25 PM
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A GROWER study tour of NSW with the Grower Group Alliance (GGA) will allow WA farmers to investigate the progress and growing conditions of a genetically modified (GM) canola crop.

The GGA has received an Industry Development Award from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to fund the tour from July 26 to August 3.

Fifteen growers will come from 15 grower groups and will go to farms from Wagga Wagga to Dubbo.

The tour will focus on information from winter dominant rainfall zones receiving 350mm to 550mm annually including Temora, Junee and Condobolin.

The tour will also investigate options to improve resilience in WA farming systems including new opportunities in cropping, managing livestock in cropping systems and improved forward planning skills.

They may visit a field of GM canola to see how the controversial crop is going in its first season since the NSW Government’s moratoria on commercial growing was lifted.

Each grower group can nominate one farmer of any age to tour but they need to come from a broadacre cereal or livestock farm and be a member of a group in the GGA network.

The majority of the tour’s costs will be funded by the GRDC’s award and through the GGA project, but farmers are expected to contribute up to $500.

Nominations will be split into northern, central, southwest and south coast Wheatbelt regions.

The farmers will be chosen by a random ballot to ensure a spread geographical representation among the tourists.

GGA project leader Tracey Gianatti said the selection of 15 growers from different groups would lead to improved communication between WA grower groups and provide a support network across the state for future collaborative activities.

Ms Gianatti said the tour would provide grower group members across WA with new ideas on how to improve the resilience of their local farming systems.

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