GROWERS attending Regional Crop Updates in the South Coast region will be warned not to skimp on fungicidal seed treatments, summer and autumn weed control or pre-sowing knockdowns.
This will be one of the messages from Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) western panel member and former farm consultant Ralph Burnett, who will speak at events at Ravensthorpe, Esperance and Green Range.
The updates are part of a series of 13 events throughout the grainbelt, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Mr Burnett said it was tempting for growers who had experienced a poor season last year to cut spending on areas including pre-emergent crop protection.
“But growers should not assume that because last year was dry, they won’t suffer from crop diseases this year,” he said.
“It is well established that optimum crop protection relies on adequate fungicide seed treatments, summer and autumn weed control and pre-sowing knockdowns, followed by post-emergent crop protection.
“Growers need to be careful about making ‘false savings’ based solely on last year being very dry and there being very little stubble cover on paddocks.
“Fungicidal seed treatments are especially important, particularly for barley.
“Spending just $3 to 4 per hectare on fungicidal seed treatments can reduce your exposure to fungal disease later in the season.”
Mr Burnett, whose GRDC program area is crop protection, said he would address the Regional Crop Updates about current and future GRDC research investment.
“I encourage growers to tell me about areas where they feel more research is needed,” he said.
Mr Burnett said he would also talk about research progress relating to fungicide resistance in barley powdery mildew and redlegged earth mites (RLEM) resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, which were issues particularly concerning to local growers.
But as a retired farm consultant, he urged growers to direct technical questions to other advisers and researchers attending the Regional Crop Updates.
Other topics to be covered at the Esperance event – coordinated by DAFWA – include fusarium crown rot, barley variety selection, hybrid and open pollinated canola agronomy, and water repellency.
The Ravensthorpe event, coordinated by the Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network (RAIN), will cover issues including local wheat and barley trials, Roundup Ready canola, dry season recovery and opportunities with overseas workers.
The Green Range event, coordinated by Stirlings to Coast Farmers, will cover issues including local trial results, hybrid canola management; grain marketing, and plant available water for precision agriculture.
Upcoming updates March 9: Ravensthorpe Golf and Bowling Club March 10: Esperance Yacht Club March 14: Green Range Country Club
Other WA Regional Crop Updates will be held at Badgingarra – March 1, Buntine – March 2, Port Denison – March 3, Geraldton – March 4, Corrigin – March 8, Cunderdin – March 9, Wickepin – March 10, Kojonup – March 15, Williams - March 16 and finishing in Moorine Rock on March 23.
GRDC western panel chairman Neil Young urged growers to attend the events.
“The Regional Crop Updates allow growers to hear about new research information more quickly, and to consider how the results might fit into their farming systems,” he said.
“They are also an opportunity for growers to meet up with other farmers interested in running their businesses better.”