More than 200 Western Australian grain growers attended meetings initiated by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to talk about production issues affecting their profitability.
Issues raised at five ‘open Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) meetings’ were fed into subsequent meetings of the RCSNs, which identify issues critical to ensuring the prosperity of the grains industry in their area and initiate local projects.
Feedback will also be provided to the GRDC western regional panel, which helps to develop and prioritise the GRDC’s research, development and extension (RD&E) investment portfolio.
The five open RCSN meetings – held in each port zone during July and August – were organised by the GRDC following the success of its initial investment in the RCSN concept.
They add to the ways that the GRDC consults with growers, which also includes annual spring tours and attendance at field days and events.
Growers who attended the open RCSN meetings highlighted highly specific, local production issues which were voted on in order to rank their level of importance.
At subsequent RCSN meetings, RCSN representatives – comprising growers and other industry people – further developed these top local priority issues.
The Albany port zone ‘open RCSN meeting’ held in Frankland – one of a series of these meetings initiated by the GRDC.
Given the success of the open RCSN meetings, they will continue to be held at least once a year prior to meetings of RCSNs, which are based in WA’s port zones – Geraldton, Kwinana West, Kwinana East, Albany and Esperance.
The main local crop production issues identified by the RCSNs, reflecting issues currently top-of-mind for growers, are:
- Geraldton – soil health (compaction and acidity); seasonal variability; input costs; farm business management; finance and information technology; profitable break crops
- Kwinana West – rotations; machinery; utilising rainfall; compaction; soil pH
- Kwinana East – water use efficiency; inputs; rotations; rainfall variability and climate; weeds
- Albany – snails and slugs; non-wetting; nitrogen and phosphorus management; canola yield limitations; compaction
- Esperance – soil biology and health/soil acidity; matching inputs to seasonal expectations; herbicide resistance and weed management; profitable break crops
Meanwhile, growers and other industry people interested in helping to boost profitability of grain production in their area are invited to apply to become a member of their local RCSN.
Applications close on September 25. For more information, go to the Western RCSN website, contact me or RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill.
The GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations, responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing RD&E to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Roger States, GRDC grower services manager
0427 565 780
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827