Potassium expert among speakers at Open Forums

Author: | Date: 10 Jul 2018

Grain growers attending upcoming events in the Geraldton port zone will learn about new research that aims to generate information that can provide growers with better guidelines for using potassium (K) more strategically and profitably.

Murdoch University researcher Richard Bell will address the topic ‘Managing and measuring potassium in a year like this’ at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Open Forums scheduled for Morawa and Geraldton on August 23.

Image of Richard Bell and Ma
Low potassium levels evident in wheat plants. Photo by IPNI.

These events, coordinated through the GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) initiative, are among 15 GRDC Open Forums being held in July and August throughout the Western Australian grainbelt.

Growers attending the Open Forums can express their ideas, hear where GRDC investment is occurring, talk with researchers leading local RCSN projects and speak with GRDC Western Regional Panel members and RCSN representatives.

Professor Bell says fertilisers are one of the highest variable costs for WA grain growers and, due to changes in climate and farming systems in recent years, current scientific knowledge that drives K fertiliser management decisions needs to be updated.

“Potassium (K) supply is critical for optimal plant growth and development, from early growth through to grain development,” he said.

“Adequate K allows the plant to use water more efficiently, increasing the vigour of the plant. Importantly, K also contributes to the synthesis of both protein and starch in grain, influencing grain filling and quality.”

Professor Bell said the K research was part of three WA soils and crop nutrition research projects, worth $14.6 million, that were announced earlier this year – involving a GRDC partnership with multiple organisations from the public and private sectors.

The K research is part of one of the projects – worth $9.7 million across five years – which is investigating soil nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium supply to crops, with a focus on providing a better understanding of fertiliser requirements.

This project is being led the University of WA (UWA) - through the SoilsWest alliance with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) - and Murdoch University and the University of Adelaide, with involvement from other grains industry stakeholders.

In addition to Professor Bell’s presentation at Morawa and Geraldton, several other speakers, addressing locally-relevant topics, are addressing the GRDC Open Forums which are being held in the following locations:

  • Albany zone
    • Cranbrook Sporting Club, 2-6pm, July 16
    • Jerramungup Community Resource Centre, 8-11am, July 17
    • Kukerin Hotel, 2-6pm, July 17
  • Esperance zone
    • Dunn Rock Tennis Club, 2-6pm, July 23
    • Munglinup Sports Pavilion, 8-11am, July 24
    • Condingup Tavern, 2-6pm, July 24
  • Kwinana West zone
    • Goomalling Sport and Community Centre, 2-6pm, July 31
    • Bedford Arms Hotel, Brookton, 8-11am, August 1
    • Kondinin Aquatic Centre, 2-6pm, August 1
  • Kwinana East zone
    • Bruce Rock Shire Council building, 2-6pm, August 6
    • Westonia Bowling Club, 8-11am, August 7
    • Bencubbin Recreation Complex, 2-6pm, August 7
  • Geraldton zone
    • Eneabba Recreation and Sporting Club, 2-6pm, August 22
    • WA College of Agriculture Morawa, 8-11am, August 23
    • Lavender Valley Farm, Chapman Valley Road, Yetna, 2-6pm, August 23.

For more information about the events and to register, visit the RCSN website or contact GRDC RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill on 0447 261 607 or regionalcroppingsolutions@gmail.com

Contact Details

For Interviews

Richard Bell, Murdoch University
(02) 9360 2370, 0405 131 429

Julianne Hill, GRDC RCSN coordinator
0447 261 607


Sharon Watt, GRDC

GRDC Project code: HIL0002