Study tours continue boosting grower knowledge

Study tours continue boosting grower knowledge

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WA growers visited the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand to learn about strategies for growing hyper-yielding cereal crops. Photograph by Nicky Tesoriero.

WA growers visited the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand to learn about strategies for growing hyper-yielding cereal crops. Photograph by Nicky Tesoriero.

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Grain growers and advisers who are keen to expand their horizons can apply for financial support for study tours that can help to generate new knowledge.

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GRAIN growers and advisers who are keen to expand their horizons can apply for financial support for study tours that can help to generate new knowledge.

Popular Grains Research and Development Corporation's (GRDC) Grower and Adviser Study Tours, which were offered through two rounds each year, are being offered and assessed on a continuous basis.

"The GRDC invests up to 50 per cent of the cost of these tours that favour groups pursuing a clear learning objective that will lead to practice change on farm," said GRDC senior manager grower extension and communication, Luke Gaynor.

"The GRDC has moved to a continuous investment cycle for all research, development and extension investments.

"Study tour opportunities will now also be offered on a continuous basis, aligning with the investment process."

Mr Gaynor said the GRDC was committed to generating leadership, innovation and education in the grains sector.

"These study tours will support growers and advisers to undertake study tours or related travel to gain new knowledge, learn new skills, build relationships and leverage GRDC's research investments," he said.

"Applications needs to demonstrate how proposed tours are aligned with the GRDC's purpose of investing in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers and how it fits within GRDC's RD&E Plan 2018-2023.

"The criteria does not include providing support for groups to attend conferences or attend training, although conference attendance may be considered as part of a study tour application.

"It is a requirement that 75 per cent of group participants are growers."

Support may be considered for individuals who hold leadership positions in the Australian grains industry, and where the activity supports outcomes proposed in the Capacity and Ability Framework.

Agronomy Focus consultant Quenten Knight, who is based in Esperance, was among a group of growers and agronomists who participated in a GRDC Grower and Adviser Study Tour in 2018 that visited New Zealand's high rainfall Canterbury Plains area.

He is now encouraging other growers and advisers to apply for financial support for intended tours.

"Study tours are invaluable and allow you to meet growers and researchers, who are willing to share their experiences," Mr Knight said.

"This knowledge can help to fast track learning that can be implemented or adopted in our farming systems to make them more productive, profitable and resilient.

"Study tours also build strong networks that can lead to continued learning and extension of information long after the trip has finished."

During the tour to the Cantebury Plains, Mr Knight's group investigated the management strategies involved in producing hyper-yielding cereal crops, including irritated systems.

Hyper-yielding wheat crops in the Canterbury Plains grainbelt can achieve yields of up to 16 tonnes per hectare, although more commonly the average yields are about 10 to 12t/ha.

"Obviously an irrigated system for cereals isn't practical for WA's broadacre cropping systems, but meeting with these growers was an inspiration and gave the tour group food for thought," Mr Knight said.

Following the group's return from New Zealand, a '10 Tonne Club' was formed to promote grower and adviser discussion to help implement tour knowledge, with the aim of achieving 10t/ha cereal yields among the study tour participants.

More information: visit the GRDC website http://bit.ly/2p1ppMU.

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