Innovation and customer needs key themes for grains forum
Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 17 Jan 2019
Targeting green weeds in green crops, observations from a Canadian farming family and the future demand for Australian grain in key export markets.
These are just some of the broader industry issues to be addressed by keynote speakers at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update in Perth on February 25-26.
‘Innovation – applying grains R&D on farm’ is one of the themes of the event and leading a discussion of precision post-emergence control of target weeds in green crops will be Guillaume Jourdain, the co-founder and chief executive officer of French technology startup company Bilberry.
Thanks to specially developed artificial intelligence algorithms, Bilberry technology can recognise weeds at 60 kilometres per hour, day and night, to detect weeds within agricultural crops.
‘Green on green’ weed detection is a game changer and Mr Jourdain, who trained as an engineer, will focus on this capability and review the results that Bilberry achieved with the technology’s first users.
Other keynote speakers on the theme of innovation will be Jordan and Jennifer Lindgren, grain and oilseed producers from Saskatchewan, Canada, who aim to maximise crop production, while minimising costs, by using field scale trials to determine which products, genetics and practices work on their farm.
The Lindgrens share this information with fellow growers and co-host the annual ‘Field of Dreams’ tour, which is an opportunity to share trial results from previous years and showcase current trials.
Speaking about on-farm grain storage will be grower and Nuffield scholar Andrew Freeth, of Gilgandra, New South Wales, and agricultural engineer Ben White, who is the Kondinin Group’s research manager, editor of Farming Ahead magazine and a member of the GRDC’s Grain Storage Extension team.
Sarah Nolet, of AgThentic, and Natasha Ayres, of AgriStart, will continue the innovation theme on day two when they address the topic ‘Creating the conditions for innovation to thrive: How we bring the right people together to get great ideas to market’.
On the second theme of ‘The big picture – what our export customers want’, Bunge Asia distribution director William Syers will talk about the future demand for Australian grains in North East and South East Asia.
Mr Syers has a technical flour milling background, having more than 30 years of experience in the industry, and is part of the sixth generation in his family to be involved in flour milling.
Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) chief executive officer Richard Simonaitis, who has broad experience in export-focused commodities, will look at ‘Technical support for the Indonesian wheat industry – our single biggest wheat customer’.
The GRDC Grains Research Update, which is attended annually by hundreds of advisers, growers, researchers and other industry personnel, is Western Australia’s premier annual grains research forum.
It will be complemented by two one-day GRDC Grains Research Update events in the Geraldton port zone at Mullewa (hosted by the Mullewa Dryland Farmers Initiative and the Mingenew Irwin Group), on February 22, and in the Albany port zone at Kendenup (hosted by Stirlings to Coast Farmers) on February 28.
GRDC Western Region Panel chair Darrin Lee said the GRDC Grains Research Updates were invaluable in extending the latest research and development results, as well as delving into broader industry issues.
“The issues confronting grain growers are constantly evolving and to ensure they remain profitable, the advice and recommendations made to them must be constantly reassessed and updated,” Mr Lee said.
“Update agendas are carefully refined each year to ensure the issues addressed are those that are front and centre for local growers, to help them navigate the 2019 growing season and beyond.
“The ability to network with many industry people is also an important feature of these events.”
In addition to keynote presentations, concurrent sessions will be held over the two days of the GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth – addressing issues ranging from nutrition management through to frost and soil constraints.
Extended focus sessions on the second day will cover:
- Effective messaging to speed adoption of innovation
- New research in the understanding and management of fungal diseases
- Best management and control of ‘new’ weeds
- Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) open forums
- Teaming up to achieve innovation
- Snail management strategies.
A Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) breakfast on the second day, sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, will see Linda Eatherton, Global Practice Development, speak on the topic ‘Social Licence – how to engage with the media and the public’.
Discounts for early-bird registration for the GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth, are now extended until January 31.
Darrin Lee, GRDC Western Region Panel chair
0427 281 021
Natalie Lee, GRDC Communications Manager West
0427 189 827
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