Ballarat forum to promote uptake of grains research innovations

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 07 Jan 2014

Keith Pengilly

Key points:

  • GRDC Grains Research Adviser Update in Ballarat on February 5-6
  • Focus on sharing of knowledge to accelerate adoption of new technologies and practices

Rapid adoption of new technologies and innovative farm practices has been identified as a key to improved productivity and profitability for Victorian grain growers.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) recognises that uptake of cutting-edge research and development outcomes is fundamental in the quest by growers to lift yields and returns, and will next month host a major forum in Ballarat to help accelerate the adoption of the latest agronomic recommendations.

The GRDC Grains Research Update, entitled Share knowledge – accelerate adoption, 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 5 and 6, the Update will feature a line-up of expert speakers from throughout Australia and beyond who will provide insights into research developments and advice about progressing cropping enterprises.

Headlining the event will be Canadian agronomic consultant Steve Larocque, the owner/manager of Beyond Agronomy in Alberta, who will relay his experiences in accelerating the adoption of innovative agronomy.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says Mr Larocque will outline his thoughts on the implementation and performance of controlled traffic farming (CTF), the impacts of soil temperature versus ambient temperature on grain weight and yield, as well as nitrogen use efficiency and nitrogen nutrition management.

“Steve’s insights will be of enormous interest and value, and will set the scene for the two days of presentations from experts from across Australia who will deliver information and knowledge about the latest advances in grains research and development,” Mr Pengilley said.

“Farm advisers play a critical role in extending the outcomes of R&D to growers so it is vital that we equip them with new intelligence so they can in turn inform their farming clients and prepare them for the season ahead,” Mr Pengilley said.

The Update program will offer a wide range of timely topics and issues and will provide maximum choice for attendees to construct their own preferred learning path over the two days.

Keynote speakers include Crop Circle Consulting director and agronomist Grant Thompson who will assess herbicide options for the control of wild radish; CSIRO researcher James Hunt and Southern Farming Systems researcher Annieka Paridaen who will delve into strategies and tactics to extend whole farm water use efficiency; and Rural Management Strategies consultant Rob Patterson who will look at the impact of brown manuring on financial and production risk management.

Rob Norton from IPNI will detail how to get nitrogen into the crop effectively and efficiently; Ryder Research’s Maarten Ryder will bust some myths about rhizobial inoculation practices; non-herbicide control of weeds and harvest weed seed management will be outlined by Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative’s Peter Newman; and Simone Tilley from ANZ will explore modernisation of China’s food industry and what it means to the Australian grains industry.

Other relevant agronomic issues to be covered on day one include maintaining legumes in Wimmera cropping systems, future options with bio-pesticides, canola establishment in marginal conditions, rotating fodder with crops to manage weeds, persistent pests, slug management practices, soil probes and decision support models, a cereal variety management review for the high rainfall zone, canola and pulse varieties, and sclerotinia and blackleg of canola.

Among the topics to be addressed on day two are the “known knowns” of frost, grain markets and maintaining market access, key cereal diseases, the latest directions in social media, a wheat and barley variety management review, novel summer rotation options and the economics of sub-soil manuring.

For a detailed program and to register for the event please visit or or by contacting ORM on 03 5441 6176 or email


Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair, Keith Pengilley, says the Ballarat forum will feature experts from across Australia and beyond who will deliver information and knowledge about the latest advances in grains research and development.

For Interviews

Keith Pengilley, GRDC Southern Panel
Phone  0448 015539

Matt McCarthy, ORM
(03) 5441 6176


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100

GRDC Project Code ORM00001

Region South