Grains industry prepares for 2015 cropping season

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 18 Mar 2015

Frost on grains crop by Ben Biddulph

Victorian grain growers and their advisers are being armed with the latest research information and resources to help guide them through the 2015 cropping season.

Grains industry personnel from across the State have been attending Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) grains research Updates where they have been informed of the most recent outcomes and recommendations from the research and development sector.

A record 330 agronomists, consultants, researchers and growers attended the annual two-day grains research Update in Ballarat, which was a ten per cent increase on the previous record of 301 set in 2013. The Update featured a line-up of expert speakers from throughout Australia who provided insights into research developments and advice about progressing cropping enterprises.

Wimmera grain growers and other grains industry personnel have also come together for a GRDC grains research Update in Nhill where cropping issues of relevance to local growers were discussed to help them prepare for the coming cropping season. An Update aimed at growers and advisers in the Gippsland region is scheduled for Sale on March 18.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel member Susan Findlay Tickner, of Horsham, says the GRDC grains research forums are an important platform for enabling the Victorian industry to remain up to date with advances in research, development and extension (RD&E).

Mrs Findlay Tickner said the Updates were primarily focused on those issues which had the most impact on the productivity and profitability of growers.

“Pests, herbicide resistance, nitrogen, diseases, time of sowing and frost – all these issues have been front and centre at the Updates,” Mrs Findlay Tickner said.

Frost was a key issue in 2014 and is still fresh in the minds of growers whose crops were affected by the early timing of last year’s frost events and their duration.

A panel of experts discussed frost at the Ballarat Update, providing advice on how to assess crops for damage and options for salvaging frost-damaged crops.

Update attendees have also been informed about work being undertaken through the GRDC’s National Frost Initiative which is an extensive integrated RD&E program addressing genetic, management and environmental approaches to mitigate the effects of frost.

Mrs Findlay Tickner said a topic of increasing interest to Victorian growers, advisers and other grains industry personnel was unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

“Innovations in UAVs and how they can be used in cropping has been discussed, as well as the legislation and compliance that we need to be across before they are used on-farm.”

Sowing dates is another topic that has attracted attention within the industry.

“James Hunt from CSIRO has given us an overview on how early sowing worked for growers in 2014 with some analysis on what varieties are best used with this crop management strategy,” said Mrs Findlay Tickner.

New knowledge around herbicide resistance, cereal root diseases, problematic pests such as green peach aphid which spread beet western yellows virus, canola diseases and nitrogen use efficiency has also been extended to advisers and growers in Victoria over recent weeks.

Mrs Findlay Tickner said information and resources presented at the GRDC grains research Updates could assist in promoting positive change in Victorian farming systems.

“I encourage all growers to speak with their advisers and agronomists about the latest recommendations and insights being generated through GRDC-funded research and development to explore opportunities for improving their bottom lines.”

To view an interview with GRDC Southern Regional Panel member Susan Findlay Tickner please visit:


For Interviews

Susan Findlay Tickner, GRDC Southern Panel
0428 622 352


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675 100

Caption: Frost was a key issue in 2014 and is still fresh in the minds of growers whose crops were affected by the early timing of last year’s frost events and their duration. Photo: Ben Biddulph

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