Seeds for robust cropping systems to be sown at Ballarat

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 09 Jan 2013

David Shannon, Southern Regional Panel Chair

Key points:

  • GRDC Grains Research Advisor Update in Ballarat on February 6-7
  • Focus on developing robust cropping systems

Farming systems built to withstand the impact of weeds, diseases, pests, seasonal constraints and market vagaries will take centre stage in Ballarat next month.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s annual Grains Research Update will focus on those significant cropping issues expected to confront Victorian grain growers in season 2013 and beyond.

The forum, entitled Robust cropping systems – the next steps­, will be attended by agronomists, consultants, researchers, growers and other grains industry personnel committed to ensuring the State’s grains sector remains productive and profitable well into the future.

To be held at Ballarat Lodge on February 6 and 7, the Update will feature a line-up of expert speakers from throughout Australia who will provide insights into relevant subjects and advice about progressing cropping enterprises in the face of ever-present challenges.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chairman David Shannon says the annual Update plays a critical role in delivering information, knowledge and resources to farm advisers who can in turn inform their farming clients and prepare them for the season ahead.

“The forum is aimed at disseminating cutting-edge advice and intelligence to contribute to the establishment and maintenance of viable and efficient cropping systems,” Mr Shannon said.

“The pressure on grain growers to keep on top of all the challenges that continue to emerge is enormous, so it is vital that the professionals who provide a service to growers are kept up to date with the latest information, techniques and technologies.”

This year’s comprehensive program will tackle a broad range of topics – from big picture subjects such as global agriculture trends and grain market shifts, to grass-roots agronomic issues such as snails and slugs, weed control and disease management.

Keynote speakers include Australian Farm Institute managing director Mick Keogh who will delve into the commercial and global realities facing agriculture, and Emergent Futures consultant Paul Higgins who will offer his thoughts on the strategies needed for grain-growing businesses to flourish in a fast-moving, time-critical modern world.

Professor David Lamb from the University of New England will explore the impacts of emerging technology “game changers” – including the National Broadband Network – on farm management and crop husbandry.

Other topics include herbicide resistance in problematic weeds which continues to be a cause for concern. Already a serious issue in Western Australia, wild radish is now threatening southern cropping systems and NuFarm WA’s Bill Campbell will provide a first-hand account of the costs and difficulties in managing the rampant weeds.

Sam Kleeman from the University of Adelaide will offer new insights into pre-emergent herbicides and the use of disc-seeders, which can be set up to minimise crop damage, while CSIRO Plant Industry researcher James Hunt will discuss sowing dates and how growers can get the best out of current wheat varieties.

Practical snail prevention and control measures – based on personal experience – will be relayed by Yorke Peninsula (SA) farmer Graham Hayes, while the latest knowledge and tactics to combat slugs will be shared by Michael Nash, from the University of Melbourne.

Other topics to be tackled during the two-day forum include understanding farmer decision making and adoption behavior, moisture probes, direct heading canola, blackleg and sclerotinia management, frost and heat stress tolerance, the latest developments in nematodes, cereal cyst nematode, crown rot and stem rust, building soil organic matter and humus, as well as summer spraying technology.

A detailed program can be obtained by visiting or or by contacting ORM on 03 5441 6176 or email


Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon says the annual Ballarat Update plays a critical role in delivering information, knowledge and resources to farm advisers who can in turn inform their farming clients and prepare them for the season ahead. 

For more information:

Matt McCarthy, ORM
03 5441 6176


Tristan Price, Porter Novelli
03 9289 9555 / 0400 363 006

GRDC Project Code ORM00001

Region South, National, North, West