WESTERN Australian grain growers will be able to outline priority production, research, development and extension (RD&E) issues they face in their local area to leading industry decision-makers in coming weeks.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Western Regional Panel is hitting the road for its annual tours to catch up with growers, advisers and other industry stakeholders and hear first-hand about on-the-ground challenges and opportunities.
This year, panel members, GRDC program managers and local staff will travel through the Kwinana West port zone from Monday, July 30 to Thursday, August 2 and then across the Albany region in September.
GRDC Panel chairman Peter Roberts said the annual tours were an integral part of the organisation’s system for collecting grower and stakeholder feedback about where and how grain levies were best invested in the Western region.
“GRDC invests in WA-relevant RD&E projects each year to address key issues impacting on sustainable grower profitability,” Mr Roberts said.
“These include farming systems and rotations, agronomy of cereal and grain legumes, soil amelioration, crop nutrition, weeds, frost, disease and pests.”
The upcoming GRDC Western Regional Panel tour through the Kwinana West port zone will include visits to:
p York, Greenhills, Quairading and Bulyee to meet with growers and advisers
p An early sown frost trial site with GRDC investment
p The Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association field day site to view long-term trials
p Goomalling and Brookton to catch up with local Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) group members
p Wheat National Variety Trials (NVT) sites and
p The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development research facility at Northam.
This tour will be followed by a second Western Regional Panel tour through the high rainfall zone in the Albany port zone in September, which will also include a series of grower and adviser meetings and visits to research and trial sites with GRDC investments.
Mr Roberts said feedback collected from grain growers and wider industry representatives during both tours would be used to help refine the GRDC’s RD&E investment priorities and plans at a local, regional and national level.
He expects crop nutrition decisions and managing soil constraints would be raised by growers as major challenges in both the Kwinana West and Albany port zones this year.
“The GRDC has recognised these are key target RD&E areas and in early 2018 announced a major commitment to three collaborative soils and nutrition research projects in WA with industry partners,” Mr Roberts said.
“This five-year initiative builds on WA outcomes from the GRDC’s More Profit from Crop Nutrition (MPCN) II national project, which ran from 2011 to 2017.
“It is focusing on: increasing profit from nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertiliser inputs in a range of emerging WA crop sequences; nutrient redistribution and availability in ameliorated and cultivated soils; and improved soil sampling methods for better predicting soil nutrient availability and supply.
“Data stemming from these projects will help to develop updated soil testing methods, refine crop response information, improve fertiliser predictions and ultimately lead to sustainable grower profits.”
Mr Roberts said the GRDC’s overall purpose was to invest in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.
“The Western Regional Panel has a key role in ensuring these investments go into projects and partnerships that drive profitability and productivity in WA’s grains industry,” he said.