Nitrogen management in focus at inaugural R&D forum

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 26 Jun 2014


One of the most pressing agronomic issues facing grain growers in the southern cropping region will be the focus of a first-of-its-kind research and development forum next month.

Nitrogen (N) management will be under the microscope at the July 23 forum in Melbourne where research organisations, farming systems groups, advisers, growers and other grains industry personnel will gather to discuss this key productivity issue.

To be facilitated by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) on behalf of stakeholders, the forum will appraise past and current investments in research, development and extension (RD&E) related to N management, leading to identification of existing and likely future gaps in knowledge and adoption.

Andrew Rice, GRDC Manager Regional Grower Services – South, says N management has been identified by the GRDC Southern Regional Panel, the Regional Cropping Solutions Network which supports the panel and the broader industry as being of significant concern to growers in the southern region (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and central and southern New South Wales).

“Considerable RD&E work has already been undertaken in the area of N management, but there are still some important unmet needs that translate into lost income to growers,” Mr Rice said.

“Nitrogen is one of those issues for which there remains a degree of uncertainty in terms of what growers should be doing to match nitrogen inputs to ensure water-limited yield potentials are met. In addition, there are questions on the longer term nitrogen requirements in farming systems given the limited adoption of pulses and move away from crop-legume pasture rotations.

“It is therefore critical that all relevant industry stakeholders – including existing and potential RD&E partners – come together to discuss what we know and what is unknown so that a targeted, strategic and collaborative approach to future investments can be planned and undertaken to deliver solutions to growers.”

Mr Rice said it would the first time such an industry-driven R&D forum had been held in the southern region.

The forum is in alignment with commitments of stakeholders under the national Grains Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17 and is the first of what will be an annual event, topics for which will be determined by industry.

“The goal of this first forum is to enable key stakeholders to contribute to designing a way forward to address the gaps identified in N management RD&E and how they may be involved in the solution,” Mr Rice said.

“The GRDC and its research partners have a responsibility to support grain growers in their quest to boost productivity and profitability, and this initiative is a crucial first step in recognising what additional work needs to be done in an area that has such an impact on growers’ returns.”

The inaugural Southern Research, Development & Extension Forum: Nitrogen Management in Farming Systems will be on Wednesday, July 23, at AgriBio (La Trobe University) at Bundoora.

Growers, advisers and other industry personnel interested in attending the forum can obtain further details from Andrew Rice by phoning 02 6866 1245 or 0427 965 469, or emailing


Caption: Boosting crop productivity and farm profitability will be the focus of a nitrogen management research and development forum in Melbourne.

Contact details

For Interviews

Andrew Rice, GRDC
427 965 469  


Sharon Watt,  Porter Novelli
0409 675100

Region South