Grains R&D funding 'hitting the mark' in southern region

Author: | Date: 14 Sep 2011

Frischke Blanchard Pengilley

Grains R&D funding ‘hitting the mark’ in southern region

Research, development and extension funded through a grain industry levy is having a significant and positive impact at a grass roots level in the southern cropping region.

That was the clear observation of Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Regional Panel members when they travelled through parts of the region on their annual spring tours.

Panel members met with grain growers, farming systems groups, researchers and advisers during the tours which also involved visits to trial sites, research centres and growers’ properties.

Acting panel chair Peter Schwarz said the two tours – one through Western Victoria and the other through South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and West Coast regions – provided panel members with a greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges facing growers and the impact of GRDC funding on behalf of growers and the Australian Government in addressing these issues.

“It was pleasing to see first-hand the positive outcomes occurring on-farm as a result of industry funds being channelled in the right directions,” Mr Schwarz said.

“Where cropping issues have occurred in the past and have been identified as research priorities by the panel, it was encouraging to learn that those issues have since been addressed. Recommended practices have been implemented and key messages have been adopted – GRDC investment is hitting the mark.”

Modra SchwarzNo new major issues were brought to the panel’s attention during the tours, however, the extent of mouse damage in some parts was clearly evident and the threat of the continuing plague remains front of mind for many grain growers.

“The mouse situation is a significant concern for growers in the southern region and GRDC will continue to respond to the issue by way of dissemination of timely information and resources and through support of and involvement in the National Mouse Management Working Group,” Mr Schwarz said.

He said panel members were impressed with GRDC-funded trials and research being undertaken in the southern region.

“Grower groups and research organisations are playing a crucial role in advancing the grains industry by looking at ways of overcoming yield constraints and the development of more sustainable farming methods.”

Mr Schwarz said the annual spring tour was one of the most important activities undertaken by the panel and was particularly valuable to those new panel members who were recently appointed.

“The tours were a real eye-opener for the new panellists who were able to spend time in areas geographically diverse to where they live and work and with people from different fields of expertise.”

The tour of SA began with a visit to the GRDC-funded Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics in Adelaide and the University of Adelaide’s world-leading plant phenomics facility, The Plant Accelerator. Panel members also met with agricultural researchers at the Waite institute.

The touring party then travelled to the State’s west where panel members met with farming systems groups, growers and researchers in the Port Lincoln, Cummins, Wudinna, Minnipa, Ceduna and Streaky Bay areas.

Panel at WangaryThe panel’s tour of Victoria began in Mildura and members then travelled to Ouyen, Swan Hill, Quambatook, Birchip, Hopetoun, Horsham, Ararat and Lake Bolac.

They met with growers, researchers, and farming systems groups including Mallee Sustainable Farming, Birchip Cropping Group and Southern Farming Systems.







Looking over trials at Birchip in Victoria are BCG Grain and Graze Systems Officer Alison Frischke, with GRDC Southern Regional Panel members Dr Chris Blanchard from Wagga Wagga, NSW, and Keith Pengilley, Tasmania.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel acting chair Peter Schwarz (from Naringaningalook in Victoria), with Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association’s Mark Modra in a LEADA trial plot on Mark’s property near Port Lincoln, SA.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel members meet with Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association representatives at a canola trial site near Wangary, SA.

• Media requiring further information about the GRDC Southern Regional Panel spring tour can contact acting panel chair Peter Schwarz on 0419 118069.

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