New projects tackling important local issues

Author: Darren Hughes | Date: 07 May 2014

Image of Darren Hughes, GRDC western grower services manager

A number of new research projects are underway in Western Australia this year as part of an initiative aimed at improving the profitability of the State’s grain growers.

Since its establishment more than two years ago, the Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSN) initiative has helped refine Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) western regional panel priorities for grains research, development and extension (RD&E).

The RCSNs – comprising growers and industry professionals in each port zone – have also invested limited discretionary GRDC funds into ‘fast-tracked’, short-term projects to address pressing crop production constraints facing local growers.

Feedback from RCSN representatives and the wider industry indicates that projects conducted to date have provided valuable results to growers.

Growers may be interested to know that the GRDC has increased its investment in WA RCSN projects to $750,000 this year.

A number of one-year projects are underway in 2014 to address issues identified by WA’s five RCSNs.

These projects include lime incorporation trials at Koorda and Nungarin in the central grainbelt.

Traditionally growers have spread lime on the top of the soil.

However many growers are keen to find out if they can get a quicker ‘payback’ and more effective results by incorporating lime at depth.

Another RCSN lime trial at Holt Rock in the south-eastern grainbelt will investigate substituting part of growers’ phosphorus and nitrogen fertiliser investment, for lime.

A RCSN project in the Albany port zone is focusing on the most profitable grain or pasture legumes that growers in this region can use in their crop rotations.

An interesting project in the Esperance port zone is looking at nitrogen dynamics in controlled traffic farming systems (where crop zones and traffic zones are separated permanently).

It has been initiated by the Esperance RCSN in response to anecdotal evidence that nitrogen is better utilised by crops in controlled traffic farming systems.

The project will investigate this theory and feed results into a broader GRDC funded soil compaction project led by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) at Geraldton.

The GRDC looks forward to extending the results from these and other 2014 RCSN projects when they become available.

More information about the RCSNs in available at

Region West, North, South