The right to farm: SA grains industry to confront hot topic
Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 18 Jan 2019
Beyond the agronomic constraints confronting grain growers throughout South Australia lies the broader agricultural industry challenge of earning and maintaining a ‘social licence’ to operate.
The right to farm is being questioned – and without consumer trust and confidence in agriculture, future industry viability and sustainability is at risk.
Responding to this scenario as an industry forms one of the key presentations to the State’s growers, their advisers and other grains industry personnel at the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Grains Research Update in Adelaide on February 12-13.
Leading a discussion on the topic will be AgCommunicators Managing Director, Deanna Lush, who has completed a Churchill Fellowship investigating communication, education and engagement methods to improve understanding of agriculture. Ms Lush also won the 2018 Australian Farm Institute John Ralph Essay Competition on the topic
‘Society should determine the right to farm'.
A keynote speaker at the Grains Research Update to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Ms Lush will discuss the need for all involved in agriculture to actively tell the sector’s story, as she says a ‘business as usual’ approach is no longer considered an option.
The influence of the consumer on grains consumption, in particular, will be further explored at the Update by Sara Grafenauer, the General Manager of the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council.
Dr Grafenauer will look at the factors influencing current food choices – the growth in plant-based diets, the increasing incidence of food allergies, and generational behaviour – and what these changes mean to the grains industry.
Addressing other topics, additional keynote speakers include Harm van Rees, of Crop Facts Pty Ltd, who will delve into opportunities for bridging the ‘yield gap’ as highlighted through the National Paddock Survey; GRDC Chemical Regulation Manager Gordon Cumming, who will address some key questions around chemistries under review and those likely to face scrutiny; and CSIRO soils expert Jeff Baldock who will outline the current state of play in understanding the capability of our cropping systems to supply sufficient nitrogen to crops.
Considered the State’s premier grains research, development and extension (RD&E) forum, the Update will feature a line-up of experts from throughout Australia who will deliver revealing insights and new knowledge emerging from GRDC investments in RD&E.
GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Courtney Ramsey, says the Update will present the latest research findings, advice and recommendations for informing growers’ decision-making within the context of broader industry challenges and opportunities.
“The annual Adelaide Grains Research Update plays an important function in providing industry in this State with the latest insights and advice from the GRDC’s broad portfolio of investments in R&D,” Ms Ramsey says.
“Updates present an opportunity for growers, advisers and other industry stakeholders to learn about the latest findings from GRDC research and where and how that can be applied to drive greater profitability on-farm.
“It is critical that our growers and advisers are equipped with cutting-edge knowledge and resources to inform their tactical decision-making and guide them through the coming cropping season and beyond.
“We operate in constantly evolving natural, social and economic environments, so it’s crucial we respond to that with scientific evidence-backed decision-making and technology adoption. That’s why RD&E plays such an integral role in keeping growers profitable.
“This year, through the Adelaide Update program, we will hear from some of our industry’s leaders in agronomic and technical research delivering relevant and impactful information for the seasons ahead.”
With the theme of ‘boosting profitability – resilient solutions’, the Update will be attended by hundreds of agronomists, consultants, researchers, growers and other grains industry personnel.
Global market competition; managing diseases and weeds in intensive cropping systems; tips for early-sown winter wheats; treating soil acidification; the expansion of pulses; and research towards predicting diamondback moth risk in canola will be among topics of concurrent sessions on day one.
Other day one topics include amelioration of sandy soils; factors that drive nitrogen availability in cereal crops; National Variety Trials results; sustaining herbicides; the likely threat of mice in 2019; robotics for broad acre farming; and emerging research from PhD students.
Agronomic topics to be covered on day two include fungicide strategies in canola; integrated weed management; herbicide residues in soils; root diseases in pulses and cereals; key lessons in stubble management; in-field assessment of crop nitrogen levels; and the role of nitrogen as a possible tool to lessen the impact of heat stress in wheat.
The seedbank life of emerging problem weeds will be another topic of considerable interest on day two, along with tactics for increased profitability in the high rainfall zone; an overview of five years of canola agronomic research; the impact of chaff lining on weed seeds; minimising the risk of extreme temperatures in critical pulse development windows; and getting the best from barley.
Courtney Ramsey, GRDC
Matt McCarthy, ORM
(03) 5441 6176
Sharon Watt, GRDC
GRDC Project code: ORM00014
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