Hundreds of growers attend GRDC Updates in SQ

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 03 Sep 2014

Attendance at last week’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grain Research Updates suggests that Southern Queensland grain growers are thirsty for knowledge on the latest data on agronomic and varietal trial work to help boost on-farm productivity and profitability.

Russell Taylor, Newlands, Warra; St John Kent, Coondarra, Jimbour and Rob Taylor, Curraweena, Macalister attended the GRDC Grains Research Update at Warra.

Recognising that ‘to learn is to grow’, around 140 growers from across the Darling Downs gathered for the Warra Grower Update while more than 50 converged on Condamine.

A variety of topical issues and GRDC-funded research projects were discussed ranging from faba bean agronomy, chickpea yield maximisation and nutrient management to soil water measurement and the future for robotics in agriculture.

Presenters included Northern Grower Alliance chief executive officer Richard Daniel, Dr Mike Bell of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Pulse Australia national manager Gordon Cumming, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland Senior Extension agronomist Kerry McKenzie, CSIRO Farming Systems researcher Dr Neil Huth and SwarmFarm Robotics owner and Gindie grain grower Andrew Bate.

Jimbour grower St John Kent, Coondarra, attended the Warra Update and said the day delivered a host of relevant and interesting information that could assist growers in making important production decisions.

“One of the presentations I found particularly interesting was Dr Mike Bell’s presentation on deep banding of Phosphorus (P). Although this work has been around for a while, it now has some pretty cut and dried parameters at what level you should expect a response and the return on investment,” Mr Kent said.

“Our bank of P is being mined away quicker each year as yields increase and will be the hardest element to replace in time.

“As soil heath improves with better farming practices, the plants’ requirements for nutrients has changed so it’s good to see research work that recognizes this.”

Macalister grain grower and GRDC northern panel member Rob Taylor, Curraweena, said the Updates provided an ideal forum for direct interaction between growers, agronomists and researchers to foster an understanding of current research programs, on-going research needs and `in the paddock’ experiences.

“The presentations were interesting, engaging and raised some valuable questions from the audience in terms of how the science can be best applied in a practical, commercial situation,” Mr Taylor said.

“This type of interaction is critical to ensuring that our industry research and extension programs are meaningful and help deliver more profitable production options for northern region growers.”

Copies of papers from the GRDC Update series for growers and advisors can be found online at

GRDC Project Code ICN00009

Region North