Grains Research and Development

HoRiZon

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About the HRZ

The high rainfall zone (HRZ) in Australia’s northern, western and southern grain farming regions is recognised as an area of potential expansion of grain production. This is because, as rainfall becomes more variable and less predictable over the next 30 – 50 years, farming areas that have previously been too wet for cropping may become the most productive.

The High Rainfall Zone (HRZ) is defined as those areas where the growing season is more than nine months, and where the amount of rainfall is one third greater than evaporation.

Changing climatic conditions present a major cropping opportunity for Australia’s higher rainfall zones (receiving 450-600 millimetres of rainfall annually), which have longer growing seasons and more options for growers engaging in grain production and grazing. It is expected that, over the next 30 – 50 years, climate change will mean that the current HRZ will become the most reliable region, and there is likely to be a shift out of grazing and pasture into cropping.

HRZ Research will deliver:

The HRZ has traditionally battled production-limiting issues including crop disease; however significant areas suitable for expansion into grain production have been identified, bringing an opportunity for greater agronomic management options and higher returns.

The GRDC has invested significantly in the HRZ over the last eight years. It has been seen as an area of potential expansion in grain production, for both existing grain growers and more traditional producers.

It can assist existing grain producers in high rainfall areas looking to increase their productivity and profitability through realising potential yields as well as helping farmers who have been traditionally running livestock to improve their profitability by growing grain.

GRDC is responsible for planning, investing and overseeing research and development, to drive innovation for a profitable and environmentally sustainable Australian grains industry. GRDC research in the HRZ is focusing on a number of areas: 

  • Productivity increases may be achieved through the adoption of new technologies such as adoption of raised beds, controlled traffic farming, improved canopy management, management of water and nutrient movement, removing soil constraints and the use of integrated pest management. 
  • Cropping in the HRZ provides opportunities to maximise yields for those adopting cropping best practice in areas such as weed management. 
  • Climate change over the next 30 years will mean the HRZ region will increasingly be seen as a reliable area for cropping, with increased yields and relatively greater productivity and profitability than traditional grain growing areas. 
  • Any expansion of cropping in the HRZ should include recognition of the potential environmental impacts on native vegetation and water resources.

HRZ Vodcasts

These vodcasts were recorded by Nick Poole of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), NZ on June 30, 2011 as part of the GRDC HoRiZon project. Mr Poole has been working in cereal disease management in Australia for eight years. In this series he addresses grower questions from members of Southern Farming Systems group located in the Inverleigh district in southern Victoria’s high rainfall zone.

Professor Robert Park talks stem rust Part A

Professor Robert Park, Plant Breeding Institute, Cobbitty, NSW addresses grower concerns about stem rust incursions in the high rainfall zone over spring and summer 2011.

Professor Robert Park talks stem rust Part B

Professor Robert Park, Plant Breeding Institute, Cobbitty, NSW continues his discussion about identifying and managing stem rust incursions in the HRZ grain growing regions. 

Colin Wellings talks stripe rust

Grower Rowan Peel, Inverleigh, Victoria asks: What impact has early stripe rust made to rust incursions this year?

Vodcast 1: What early control measures do you recommend for disease management this season? 

Vodcast 2: What lessons from the wet 2010 season can growers learn from?

Vodcast 3: The value of genetic resistance in disease management.

HRZ Projects

  • CSP00019 - Wheat Breeding for the High Rainfall Zones of Australia
  • CSP00065 - Delivering high yields of milling wheats in the High Rainfall Zone of Western Australia
  • DAV00059 - Management of high rainfall cropping to improve water quality and productivity
  • DAV00061 - Genotype and management combinations for highly productive cropping systems in the High Rainfall Zone
  • DAV417 - Environmental impacts of raised bed cropping systems in south west Victoria
  • UM148 - Changes in soil properties under raised bed cropping

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