Ballarat grains research forum to set the scene for 2015

Author: | Date: 20 Jan 2015

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair, Keith Pengilley

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will next month host a major forum in Ballarat to support the Victorian grains industry through the 2015 cropping season and beyond.

The GRDC Grains Research Update, entitled Emerging systems – new decisions, 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 24 and 25, the Update will feature a line-up of expert speakers from throughout Australia who will provide insights into research developments and advice about progressing cropping enterprises.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says the annual two-day Update is the State’s premier grains research, development and extension (RD&E) forum.

“This year’s event will showcase innovative thinking, products and practices, and will offer valuable advice on opportunities to improve Victorian farming systems,” Mr Pengilley said.

Headlining the event will be Nicon Rural Services consultant Cam Nicholson who is the GRDC Grain and Graze program co-ordinator in southern Victoria. He will share some learnings around assessing and quantifying risk and tips to help make better farm decisions.

Another keynote speaker will be Carol Fox of Life Performance Pty Ltd who will discuss the value of confident communication in enabling farm advisers to become more proactive and influential with their farming clients.

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.

Relevant agronomic issues to be covered on day one include frost which will be discussed by a panel of experts, improving herbicide use efficiency through new technology, the outcomes of sowing early in 2014, the latest messages from soil biology research, new developments with in-crop herbicide research, optimising the impact of glyphosate, the long-term effect of rotation and tillage on productivity, soil nitrogen and carbon, and oaten hay export opportunities.

Other day one topics include adding value with forage break crops, root diseases, whether to top dress waterlogged crops with nitrogen, serial pests, a forum on herbicide resistance, pulse markets in 2015, as well as emerging research by GRDC-funded students.

Day two will feature another two keynote speakers. Wimmera grain grower Andrew Weidemann, the face of a Crown Lager national television advertisement, will provide insights into his own farm quality assurance commitment and the market opportunities that are potentially threatened by poor stewardship and poor in-paddock decisions, while respected agronomic adviser Harm van Rees will question if leading farmers have closed the yield gap to such an extent that agronomy will struggle to impact on productivity.

Among other subjects to be addressed on day two are the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), pulse developments, applied nitrogen versus break crops, the latest products and services from the commercial sector, sclerotinia and blackleg diseases in canola, soil probes, phosphorus levels, barley agronomy R&D, and spot form net blotch and septoria management.

Also on day two, information will be presented on the impact of changes to nitrogen fertiliser management on farm profit, results from spring-sown canola and wheat and the latest products and services from the commercial sector.

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



For Interviews

Keith Pengilley, GRDC Southern Panel

0448 015539

 Matt McCarthy, ORM

(03) 5441 6176


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
 0409 675100

Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair, Keith Pengilley, says the Ballarat forum will showcase innovative thinking, products and practices, and will offer valuable advice on opportunities to improve Victorian farming systems.

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GRDC Project code: ORM00001