THE NATIONAL TOPCROP award winner for 2002, SA's Warooka Agricultural Bureau (WAB), is finding new ways to control crop diseases and improve on-farm productivity.
WAB secretary, Sheena Walton, said the bureau was revitalised in 2000 by focusing on key grower issues. She said cropping industry research priorities were set and included:
- cereal foliar disease control trials with results highlighting the need for early fungicide treatments if yields and grain quality are to be improved
- finding ways to ameliorate hostile subsoils with deep ripping and humus pelleting treatments now under test
- testing the response of crops to liquid fertilisers on local soils and adding to the R&D effort underway on the peninsula to control snails.
WAB also got busy in other directions during 2002 — including improving the electronic banking and business skills of members, heavy vehicle roadworthiness and updating farmers on farm machinery regulations.
As the nation's top TOPCROP group for 2002, the WAB has received $9,000 ($3,000 for being State winner and an extra $6,000 for earning the national title). Ms Walton said the group's executive committee would consider committing this money to more trial work including that associated with control of the weed Star of Bethlehem, which played a major role in the survival and mutation of barley rust strains.
Shared activities would continue with the farming systems group Southern Yorke Peninsula Alkaline Soils Group, as would involvement with research providers including local consultants and personnel from Rural Solutions SA, SA Research and Development Institute, the CSIRO and the University of SA.
TOPCROP, supported by growers and the Federal Government through the GRDC and by State Departments of Agriculture, assists farmer groups to take part in crop monitoring, R&D and associated grain industry activities.
Program 6 Contact: Ms Sheena Walton 08 8853 4215