WA growers consulted during GRDC panel tours
Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 09 Oct 2014
Key decision makers from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) hit the road in recent weeks to discuss a range of research, development and extension (RD&E) issues with Western Australian growers.
Three GRDC western regional panel spring tours were conducted in different areas of the WA grainbelt in order to facilitate extensive engagement with growers, researchers, advisers and other grains industry representatives.
Separate tours traversed the State’s southern and northern cropping districts, as well as the eastern grainbelt.
GRDC chairman Richard Clark joined the tour of WA’s Northern Agricultural Region from October 1 to 3, speaking with growers in Mingenew, Morawa, Carnamah, Coorow, Moora, New Norcia, Toodyay and Bolgart.
Mr Clark said growers he spoke with supported the GRDC levy and were keenly interested to find out more about the GRDC, the scope of its investments and how these were designed to increase grower profitability.
“The challenge for the GRDC is to enhance its engagement with those growers who don’t already contribute through Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs) and the western panel, so that they feel a greater connection with the GRDC and have a better understanding of how we are delivering value to them,” he said.
Mr Clark said the tours were an opportunity to demonstrate how the GRDC was investing not only in new technologies relating to key issues such as herbicide resistance, frost, soil constraints, and crop rotations, but also in pre-emptive research defending farming systems from potential threats such as rust in cereals and blackleg in canola.
“Growers are not always fully aware of the breadth of projects in which the GRDC invests, as the work is delivered by our research partners, not the GRDC itself,” he said.
Mr Clark said that while growers indicated that GRDC investments reflected the key issues of importance to them, many wanted an increased focus on local issues such as variety-specific agronomy information.
GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts said the GRDC was addressing this need for local information by increasing its investment in ‘fast tracked’, short term RCSN trials.
“These trials are addressing local priority issues identified by the five western region RCSNs, aligned with WA’s port zones,” he said.
“The RCSNs have helped identify and define issues and have directed investment in the research that will derive the most benefit for growers.”
Mr Roberts said agronomic issues raised by growers during the tour of WA’s northern cropping areas included soil acidity; the need for an economically viable pulse crop to include in cropping rotations; climate variability; and weeds.
The GRDC plans and invests in RD&E for the Australian grains industry. Its primary objective is to support effective competition by Australian grain growers in global grain markets, through enhanced profitability and sustainability.
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827