SA grains sector set to launch into 2011 cropping season

Author: | Date: 01 Mar 2011

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon (left) at the Adelaide Update with panel member Richard Konzag.

SA grains sector set to launch into 2011 cropping season

The South Australian grains sector is well placed to take advantage of favourable seasonal conditions as it prepares for the sowing of 2011’s crops.

Having attended the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) two-day research Update in Adelaide, industry advisers and consultants from throughout the State have been equipped with crucial agronomic information and resources to ensure grain growers grasp available opportunities.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon says unseasonal spring-summer rainfall has presented growers with a unique set of opportunities and challenges.

“Unlike previous seasons in which after a dry start to the year we tend to rely on a late autumn break to kick-start proceedings, growers in many areas will be sowing into soils with existing high moisture profiles,” Mr Shannon said.

“It’s an unusual scenario so we need to make sure growers and their advisers have a good understanding of what practices need to be put in place so they can extract maximum benefit from the current conditions.”

Mr Shannon said the industry in this state has had to consider the impact of recent wet weather on factors such as pests and diseases, soil and crop nutrition, stubble management and seed selection.

These were among the key topics discussed at the grains research Update where industry experts from throughout the nation provided the latest agronomic advice and insights from cutting-edge research.

“The Update was an important forum for examining and addressing the likely grain growing challenges this coming season, as well as providing information on new technology, farming practices and science. Global and domestic trends were also discussed.”

Some of the key take-home messages from the Update included:

• Testing for and addressing nutrient deficiencies in soils will be important this year following the high crop production levels in 2010 and heavy rains depleting nutrient levels

• The potential for diseases in cereals, pulses and canola crops is high this year due to heavy stubble loads and an abundance of “volunteer” plants as a result of summer rains

• Early detection and correct identification of crop insect pests will be critical in the prevention of crop damage and spread of disease by pests

• Mice are expected to again be a major issue for SA growers this year – there is a risk of substantial, widespread problems at seeding

• Growers planning to retain grain from the 2010 weather-affected harvest for sowing next season are urged to select, store and manage their seed with particular care and attention

• Careful management of heavy stubble loads will be a major consideration for growers

• Wet soils during harvest may have led to soil structure damage and compaction so growers will need to avoid further soil damage in paddocks wherever possible

• New cereal and pulse crop varieties offer high yield potential and disease resistance

Given the unusual seasonal circumstances facing grain growers in the southern cropping region, the GRDC’s Southern Regional Panel has consulted closely with industry and is currently involved in the development of a guide for growers and their advisers, specifically designed to assist with this year’s cropping programs.

Mr Shannon said the concise guide would cover critical agronomic issues and would contain relevant and timely information sourced from existing research materials and insights.

“The season guide will be distributed in another few weeks and I urge growers and advisers to ensure they receive a copy and to put it to good use,” Mr Shannon said.

Further information about the GRDC Updates can be obtained by visiting or by contacting ORM on 03 5441 6176 or email 


Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon (left) at the Adelaide Update with panel member Richard Konzag.


Region National, North, South, West