SA grains industry armed with new knowledge ahead of season 2018

Author: | Date: 23 Feb 2018

GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney (left), caught up with Crystal Brook consultant Peter Cousins at the GRDC Grains Research Update in Adelaide.
GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney (left), caught up with Crystal Brook consultant Peter Cousins at the GRDC Grains Research Update in Adelaide.

New knowledge from grains research is set to inform tactical decision making by South Australian growers as they now begin preparing for the 2018 cropping season.

The latest cropping insights and recommendations have been delivered to growers and their advisers from across the State who attended the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Grains Research Update in Adelaide.

GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney, says industry is now well informed about issues relating to pests, weeds, diseases and crop nutrition, and growers can accordingly implement practice change to reduce the potential impact of such constraints and to realise opportunities for increased profit throughout the course of the coming season.

“The Adelaide Update is the State’s premier grains research, development and extension event. It is an important platform for researchers to transfer their knowledge from GRDC investments to advisers and growers in advance of sowing of crops each year, and for showcasing the latest developments in technology,” Mr Arney said.

With the theme of “strategic steps – enduring profit”, the two-day Update was attended by a record 450 agronomists, consultants, researchers, growers and other grains industry personnel.

“Given that there are around 2500 grain-growing businesses in SA, that means we had at least one industry specialist in attendance for every five grain enterprises which is excellent representation,” Mr Arney said.

Some of the key messages delivered at the GRDC Grains Research Update which have application for the coming season included:

  • Potential exists for economic damage by mice at sowing this year in parts of SA – timely application of bait at the prescribed rate is paramount for reducing the impact of mice at sowing;
  • Early sowing in low rainfall areas increases the risk of autumn infestations of Russian wheat aphid;
  • Soil-borne diseases most likely to pose the greatest risk to cereal crops in the southern region in 2018 include rhizoctonia root rot, crown rot and root lesion nematodes;
  • Consider using a PREDICTA® B test if in any doubt about the risk of yield losses from crown rot or eyespot in at-risk paddocks. PREDICTA® B has new tests for ascochyta blight of chickpeas, plus yellow leaf spot and white grain disorder of wheat;
  • Agrochemicals and fertilisers applied at sowing of pulse crops can affect rhizobial survival – avoid contact between these and rhizobia;
  • Matching the supply of nitrogen with crop demand is critical to optimising nutrient use and profitability of grain production;
  • A number of new high-yielding barley varieties that differ in phenology could help growers to maximise grain yield and quality;
  • Canola time of sowing experiments in SA have demonstrated benefits from matching sowing date to variety phenology;
  • Across a wide sowing date range and variable seasonal weather conditions, mid-season maturing wheat varieties were generally the highest yielding in 2017;
  • Be cautious in selecting barley varieties susceptible to net form net blotch as this disease is likely to increase in significance in coming years;
  • The development of fungicide resistance can be limited by using the lowest doses that give good control of fungal disease, appropriate mode of action rotations, clean seeds and resistance varieties;
  • Reduced sensitivity of the septoria tritici blotch pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici to triazole fungicides is likely to be an increasing problem;
  • Where more than one fungicide is used in wheat, avoid using the same triazole active ingredient twice, irrespective of the disease to be controlled;
  • Annual ryegrass with resistance to Group D and Group J pre-emergent herbicides will make management in cereals difficult;
  • Increasing incidence of brome grass in cropping paddocks appears to be associated with selection of biotypes with greater seed dormancy through growers’ crop management practices. Growers need to plan a three-year management program for their cropping rotations;
  • Profit could be reduced by up to $50 per day for every day that canola crops are windrowed before they are ready;
  • Timely harvest will be important for retaining pulse grain quality attributes;
  • Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) remains an important aspect of integrated weed management and reducing the risk of herbicide resistance – chafflining is becoming an increasingly popular form of HWSC.

Papers presented at the Adelaide Grains Research Update are available for viewing on the GRDC website at

Contact Details

For Interviews

Darren Arney, GRDC
0447 877178


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100

GRDC Project code: ORM00014