GRDC Updates forge 'new thinking' on long-term issues

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 20 Feb 2014

New thinking on enduring challenges such as multiple nutrient decline and phosphorous management promises to spark widespread industry interest at the upcoming Northern Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Updates. 

Leading growers and advisors will hear from nationally renowned scientists such as Dr Mike Bell from the University of Queensland’s Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) on the latest research into the economics and management of phosphorous (P) and the nutrient depletion in northern soils.

Update coordinator John Cameron, ICAN Rural, said the exceptional work of Dr Bell and others into crop and soil nutrition held important messages for profitable agronomic management across the northern region, particularly in the areas of deep placement of P and potassium (K) within the soil profile, longer term cost/benefit analysis’ and factors affecting the variability of crop response and risk.

“Farming has basically been mining these nutrients for years and for the most part, they are very non-mobile,” Mr Cameron said. 

“The distribution of P and K on the surface is fine for crop establishment and early growth but if the latter part of the season is dry and sub soil moisture is limited, these nutrients can become unavailable which in turn adversely impacts crop productivity.

“The deep placement work is new thinking for an on-going issue and the production and economics research have important implications for risk management strategies as well as crop productivity and profitability.”

The Updates series begins at Coonabarabran with an advisor update on February 26 and 27 at the Town Hall; a grower update will be held at Nyngan Bowling Club on February 28; Goondiwindi will host an advisor update on March 4 and 5 at the Goondiwindi Community Centre; and a grower update will be held at the Mungindi Community Hall on March 6.

According to Mr Cameron other topics which will attract significant interest and discussion are the extensive recent research work into nitrogen nutrition as well as varietal responses to season and operational decisions.

“Varietal responses to N application and generating an understanding of the cost/benefit ratios of applying nitrogen for yield responses are important considerations in much of the research being undertaken and will help drive any modifications to existing practical recommendations,” he said.

“I’m also really looking forward to the address by Peter Martin from NSW Department of Primary Industries on phenology and drivers for management of flowering date and frost risk.

“This comes on the back of a wide variance in flowering windows across varieties across the northern region, making it difficult for growers and advisors to enact effective risk management strategies.”

For more information, agendas or registration forms visit or or call John Cameron or Erica McKay on 02 9482 4930.

Contact Details 

For Interviews

John Cameron, ICAN Rural
02 9482 4930


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0418 152859

Region North, South, West