Southern and central NSW grain growers prep for 2015

Author: Tristan Price | Date: 19 Mar 2015

Image of Chris Blanchard

Grain growers and their advisers in southern and central New South Wales have been armed with the latest research results and advice on cropping issues at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) forums at Wagga Wagga and Corowa recently.

Dealing with frost, the latest in canola from overseas, weeds, pests and diseases were high on the agenda at these events, with hundreds of farm advisers travelling to get the latest tactical agronomy information direct from GRDC’s research partners.

The keynote speaker at the main Update at Wagga Wagga was Canadian researcher and leading canola expert Malcolm Morrison on the practices behind yield gains in his home country, drawing parallels with common problems faced by farmers growing canola in two very different cropping environments.

Also of high interest were presentations on GRDC’s National Frost Initiative and related work on minimising and mitigating frost damage, early sowing for wheat and canola, the pros and cons of strategic tillage, managing herbicide resistant weeds and tips for reducing beet western yellows by controlling green peach aphid populations.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel deputy chair, Professor Chris Blanchard, said the research Updates were a key event for the season, with advisers making the most of the information on-hand from field-leading researchers ahead of their farmer clients preparing for sowing winter crops.

“It’s all about taking GRDC-funded research and showcasing it to advisers in the southern region, with the intention that if we take this information and pass it on to advisers, they’ll be able to take that to the growers and make some changes for the better in their cropping for 2015,” Prof Blanchard said.

“One of the big topics at the GRDC updates is what happened in terms of frost last year. The frost was so severe in some areas that there was nothing we could do recoup affected crops, but it really reminded us about the important tactics for avoiding frost, which take into consideration things like elevation of paddocks, choosing the right varieties, or different species if you think you’re in trouble with frost, and it might even be time of sowing, which is one of the main tools you can use in avoiding frost.

“Another particularly interesting presentation we saw was around a strategic tillage project, run by New South Wales DPI. One really interesting aspect that’s emerged out of that is a stratification of nutrients in some of the soils they’ve been looking at, which is really complicating the measurement of nutrients in the soil, making it difficult to make recommendations on the practice.

“There’s always issues with pests and disease, and it’s a constant battle to try and get a handle on fungal diseases, particularly in some of these wet years we’ve been having. In the higher rainfall areas of the southern cropping region, certainly slugs and snails remain a really big problem.

“In all, the GRDC Research Updates are a vital extension tool for getting the latest research back to growers. GRDC invested in more than 1000 research projects last year, and these update events are really the key for getting the findings of those completed projects out of the trial sites and reports and into the field, to ultimately help growers be more profitable.”

To view a video interview with Ass Prof Chris Blanchard on the 2015 GRDC Research Update at Wagga Wagga, go to


For Interviews

Chris Blanchard, GRDC Southern Panel
0438 662 992


Tristan Price, Porter Novelli
0400 363 006

Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel Deputy Chair, Chris Blanchard, says grains research Updates at Wagga Wagga and Corowa have equipped growers and advisers in southern and central New South Wales with vital information for the coming season.

GRDC Project Code ORM00001

Region South, North