GRDC digs the dirt on soil nutrition testing

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 07 Jul 2015

Image of Mike Bell from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI).

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will `dig in’ to the what, where and whys of soil nutrition testing as one of several issues to be discussed at Grain Research Updates in western Queensland next month.

Optimal soil nutrition is fundamental to crop productivity and can add thousands of dollars to growers’ bottom lines if testing is undertaken and interpreted correctly.

Renowned soil scientist, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) Principal Research Fellow Dr Mike Bell, will discuss the latest research findings on phosphorus and nitrogen requirements and deliver practical management advice to growers and advisors during Updates in Roma on Wednesday August 5 and in Nindigully on Thursday August 6.

Soil nutrition testing is one of several `farm-ready’ research topics being discussed as part of the Updates.

Participants at Roma will also hear from CSIRO Senior Farming Systems Scientist Dr Lindsay Bell about a major new farming systems project that addresses constraints to performance and efficiency; Northern Grower Alliance chief executive officer Richard Daniel on management of the potentially devastating pest root lesion nematodes and restoring profitability to affected paddocks while Leader Northern Dryland Cropping Systems with NSW DPI, Loretta Serafin will discuss sorghum agronomy in the western cropping zone with advice for reducing production risk and optimising profitability.

The program also includes sessions with Richard Daniel on the effective management of fleabane and Feathertop Rhodes grass (FTR) and the use of residual herbicides in a variable climate; Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) researchers Dr Nikki Seymour and Bec Raymond on pulse agronomy and fertiliser strategies; and DAF grain storage specialist Philip Burrill will offer expert advice on managing high level phosphine resistance in on-farm storage.

The Nindigully program will include discussions on the new farming systems project, sorghum agronomy for the western zone and the effective management of FTR within a farming system as well as presentations from renowned NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) cereal plant pathologist Dr Steven Simpfendorfer on the usefulness of new PreDicta B sampling protocols for crown rot and nematodes, Dr Nikki Seymour on nitrogen fixation and the implications for crop budgeting, and DAF’s Kerrie McKenzie on best practice chickpea and faba bean agronomy.

With crop profitability largely hinging on yield, GRDC northern panel chair James Clark said information provided at the Updates would be firmly focussed on addressing regionally-relevant productivity constraints.

“Accessing up-to-date agronomic research findings is the first step towards implementing targeted management practices to boost crop yields and improving the long-term sustainability of the farming system,” Mr Clark said.

“Even small increases in production can make a significant difference to business profitability and the GRDC Updates are an ideal forum to learn what’s new in farm-ready research, access best practice management advice and challenge current practices.”

The cost of attendance is $30 per person and $20 for a second person from the same farm on the same registration. Morning tea, lunch and proceedings are provided. Registration at both workshops is 8:30am for a 9am start.

To RSVP/register or for further information or the agenda contact Updates coordinator John Cameron or Erica McKay, ICAN on 02 9482 4930, e-mail or visit the GRDC Grains Research Update pages for Roma and Nindigully.

GRDC Project Code ICN00021

Region North