South-eastern grain growers have input into future research

Author: | Date: 29 Sep 2010

NSW/VIC Panel Tour.

Key points:

• GRDC Regional Panel visits farms and research sites across Victoria and NSW
• Growers highlight local issues and future research priorities

Grain growers in south-eastern Australia are playing an active role in setting the agenda for future industry research.

Growers in southern New South Wales and north central Victoria have been providing the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) with an on-the-ground account of local industry issues and their research priorities.

Members of the GRDC Southern Regional Panel have visited farms, trial sites and research facilities as part of their annual spring tour.

Panel members met with growers, researchers, farmer groups, agronomists and other industry personnel to gain a better understanding of local cropping issues and to assess first-hand the impact and relevance of GRDC-funded research and development in the regions.

Growing districts visited on the tour included Wagga Wagga, Lockhart, Narrandera, Jerilderie, Kerang and Shepparton.

Herbicide resistance, stubble management, crop rotations, profitable legumes, locusts and flooding were just a few of the topics discussed with local growers and researchers on the week-long field tour.

David Shannon, GRDC’s southern regional panel chair, said tours such as this one kept panellists abreast of the key issues in grain-growing regions and how GRDC-funded research could be used most effectively to assist farmers.

“Deciding what to grow and when is still a major talking point in the visited regions and of course it’s different for every farmer. GRDC research will continue working towards developing varieties with higher yields and stress tolerance, as well as more profitable break crops,” Mr Shannon said.

“Charles Sturt University’s EH Graham Centre is trialling both major wheat varieties and new test varieties, measuring yield, resistance to weeds and pests, and drought tolerance, delivering a better all-round variety to farmers.

“The need for statistical validation through large-scale trials in a wider spread of regions is something we heard regularly and will act on when assessing future projects.

“Although rains have drenched parched regions of south-eastern Australia this season, the effects of a decade of drought in some regions are fresh in farmers’ minds. A trial at Yanco Agricultural Institute is using wireless technology to monitor soil moisture and temperature of 800 separate plots to develop more drought-tolerant crops,” Mr Shannon said.

The panel also witnessed first-hand the variability of Australia’s climate, visiting properties in central Victoria inundated by flood waters, and seeing the effects of heavy rainfall in southern NSW and northern Victoria. Steve Thomas (GRDC) and Mike Harris on Gerry Longmire's Farm (NSW/VIC)

“Some growers are expecting minor damage from water-logging, particularly in central Victoria, but the general consensus is these losses will be more than compensated by improved yields overall.

“On a whole, growers are very positive about this year’s crop and fingers are crossed for a strong end to the season,” Mr Shannon said.

Further information about the GRDC can be obtained by visiting


Editor’s notes:

• For more information about the panel tour, contact GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon on 0419 830700  

• This media release and other media products are available via

Region South, North, West