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Author: James Clark | Date: 22 Jan 2013

man standing in field with green field in the back

with James Clark, GRDC Northern Panel Chair

Grain growers continue to directly impact on the direction of research, development and extension in the northern grains region via the proven Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) regional panel system.

James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair says the area from Dubbo, NSW to central and northern Queensland is represented by a 10-member panel including growers, researchers, advisers and agronomists.

“The panel’s job is to move about the region, gathering industry priorities and looking at how the research is being conducted and how it’s delivering for growers,” Mr Clark said.

“There is a rigorous investment process and GRDC manages the investment pipeline.

“GRDC is investing in some very short-term projects to deliver in one to three years; three to eight years and eight years plus.

“This means GRDC has some projects running that won’t actually deliver results on the ground to growers for 15 to 20 years but it’s important to start that fundamental research to ensure the pipeline’s full.”

Mr Clark says establishing targeted and relevant research questions and structuring timelines are vital parts of the GRDC investment process.

He says problem weeds continue to cause headaches for growers and are a high priority for researchers.

“Weeds like windmill grass, barnyard grass feathertop Rhodes grass are spreading within the region and we are looking at non-chemical solutions and best management practices, systems and an integrated approach to combat them.”

Mr Clark says nutrition is coming to the fore as an issue across the region.

“We find growers are looking closely at the dollars they are spending in crop nutrition and the timing of that nutrition to get the best bang for their buck because some of our soils and farming systems are getting to the point where we need to be putting nutrients back far more than we have in the past,” he said.

A relatively new issue the panel is looking at is the ‘yield gap’ between the environmental yield potential season-by-season, which naturally varies by season, and what growers are achieving.

“GRDC has funded some preliminary work looking at how many growers and farming enterprises are achieving as close as possible to that environmental yield potential,” Mr Clark said.

“There certainly does appear to be quite large yield gaps in some areas and some crops so the panel is looking to make investments in applied research in winter and summer legumes and cereals.”

He said high priority research programs currently underway included nutrient management, strategic tillage to combat herbicide resistance, agronomy for winter and summer legumes.

“We are about putting dollars back in growers’ pockets and ensuring their levy is the best investment they make each year.

“It stays research until it’s adopted and how people adopt new technology and information is changing.

“We are constantly talking to growers about how best to help them keep up with the latest research recommendations.”

For more information on GRDC research priorities and how to have input into GRDC northern panel decisions, contact James Clark on 0427 545 212.

Caption: James Clark, GRDC northern panel chair.

ENDS

For interviews:

James Clark, GRDC Northern Panel Chair
0427 545 212

Rachel Bowman, Cox Inall Communications
(07) 3846 4380, 0412 290 673
rachelb@coxinall.com.au

Region North