Browse GRDC Podcasts

Episode 213: Calcareous Soils Initiative

Calcareous soils are very common in the southern grain-growing region and cover 60% of the region’s cropping country. These soils are high in calcium carbonate, resulting in poor crop establishment and low grain yields compared to less hostile soils. But a new research initiative is set to improve the grain industry’s understanding of these soils and how they constrain crop yield and profitability. Behind the initiative is the Grains Research and Development Corporation in conjunction with the Co-operative Research Centre for high-performance soils, the Soil CRC. Also collaborating on this project are CSIRO, NSW DPI and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia. GRDC is investing 6.75 million dollars over 3 years in this initiative to build on previous research knowledge into calcareous soils. calcareous soils, soil and nutrition, agronomy, Nigel Wilhelm, soil constraints

Episode 212: Calcareous Soils Investment Welcomed

The Kuhlmann family has been farming on the western side of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula for more than a hundred years. Peter Kuhlmann is the latest generation to farm the challenging calcareous soils in this part of the state. Like many growers, Peter has been keen to see more done to better understand these soils and has welcomed the new GRDC calcareous soils investment. The $6.75 million GRDC investment is an industry collaboration with the Soil CRC, CSIRO, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, and the New South Wales DPI. calcareous soils, soil and nutrition, soil constraints, Peter Kuhlmann, agronomy

Episode 211: Retaining stubble in a high rainfall environment

For grower James Heggaton who farms around Kojunup in Western Australia, stubble is a crucial part of his farming system but one that must be actively managed year on year. On this podcast, which is one of a limited series looking at how farmers are managing stubble across the western region, James explains the role of stubble in a climate where moisture retention is just one of the factors that guide his stubble system. james heggaton, stubble, high rainfall zone, grower stories, agronomy, soil and nutrition

Episode 210: Conserving stubble conserves moisture

Stubble retention is practiced by farmers across the western cropping region for a variety of reasons. A special series of GRDC/West Australian No Tillage Farmers Association podcasts have been produced featuring growers and advisers who explain how stubble retention fits into their systems, the advantages it brings and how they manage the issues sometimes heavy stubble loads create. On this podcast we speak to Bill Crabtree, a well known champion of conservation agriculture, who talks to us about his experience farming in a low rainfall area and the role that stubble retention plays in his farming system. Bill Crabtree, stubble retention, agronomy, soil and nutrition

Episode 209: New pasture legumes overcome old barriers

For the past three years, researchers in Western Australia have been trialling innovative new pasture legume species suited to low to medium rainfall areas. The findings are clear - new species can overcome traditional barriers to use and deliver significant benefits to mixed farming enterprises. In this podcast, Professor John Howieson from Murdoch University discusses the research findings so far and shares how growers can use this insight to boost productivity and profitability on-farm. It’s all part significant $18 million-dollar dryland pasture legume research initiative being led by the GRDC. John Howieson, Ron Yates, legumes, crops

Episode 208: How to test for dispersive soil

Now is the time of year to test your paddock for dispersive soil. Many soils in south-eastern Australia have naturally dispersive topsoils that are prone to compaction, temporary water-logging and reduced seedling emergence. In this podcast, NSW Department of Primary Industries research Dr Ehsan Tavakkoli shares a simple one-hour soil test that quickly tells growers if dispersion is an issue in their paddocks, allowing them to make informed gypsum application decisions. ehsan tavakkoli, dispersive soil, soil and nutrition, agronomy, gypsum

Episode 207: Fitting stubble into your system pays

The extraordinarily high winds experienced by growers around Geraldton in May 2020 emphasised the importance of retaining stubble as a means of protecting the soil. This podcast is one of a limited series looking at how farmers are managing stubble across the western region, brought to you by GRDC and the Wester Australian No Tillage Farmers Association. Farm consultant Craig Topham talks about the lessons learned from that wind event and about the importance of fitting stubble retention into your farming system and the benefits that can bring. Craig Topham, stubble, soil and nutrition, agronomy

Episode 206: Farming in the digital age

Agricultural technology has a long way to go. That was the message mixed enterprise farmer and Nuffield scholar Andrew Slade delivered to those attending the 2020 Perth Grains Research Update. In this podcast, Andrew talks about what conclusions he came home with after his Nuffield study tour and what that means for the adoption of digital technology in the Australian farming sector. digital agriculture, nuffield, andrew slade, innovation, precision agriculture, digital technology

Episode 205: Rethinking fertiliser toxicity

When it comes calculating fertiliser toxicity risk in the paddock, the tools and resources available to growers haven’t really changed over the past 70 years. But exciting new research at the University of Adelaide is modernising our understanding and approach to this important industry issue. In this podcast, research lead Jacinta Dockerill shares the latest fertiliser toxicity research findings and insights. Jacinta Dockerill, fertiliser toxicity, soil and nutrition, agronomy

Episode 204: Improving your soil by the book

“The next wave of productivity improvements will come from … the soil itself.” That’s a quotation from a valuable online resource for growers and their advisers – a series of E-books on improving the soils that make up Australia’s grains belt. The E-books are interactive and easy to digest and promise users a unique experience when it comes to learning and the application of the information for practical application of the knowledge. On this podcast we speak to one of the authors Associate Professor Fran Hoyle from The University of Western Australia. soil and nutrition, Fran Hoyle, agronomy

Episode 203: The weeds are evolving – annual ryegrass and wild radish

Through the careful analysis of more than 18 years of paddock data, we now know that cropping weeds constantly evolve to evade all forms of weed control, including non-herbicide strategies. In this podcast, Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) research agronomist, Dr Mike Ashworth, discusses the evolution of annual ryegrass and wild radish in our cropping systems, and how this information can be used to make strategic weed management decisions. Mike Ashworth, AHRI, Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, annual ryegrass, wild radish, weeds, crop protection

Episode 202: Driving profit through supporting good mental health

Even though consultants haven’t traditionally seen discussions with growers about stress management and mental health as part of their role it actually makes good business sense. The ‘slow creep’ of drought-related stress is detrimental to growers if unaddressed, but supporting growers to understand and manage their stress helps to prevent developing mental health problems, while also supporting future relationships and business outcomes. Consultants are skilled to support grower’s decision-making, and this becomes crucial in adverse times to assist them to understand the facts, their options and ways of making informed decisions. Letitia Cross, mental health, farm business, business management

Episode 201: Rhizoctonia identification and management

Rhizoctonia will cause yield losses especially where cereal crops have had a dry finish, but because this disease doesn’t like moist soils, those growers who have received late spring rains are unlikely to notice any impact. What this season does emphasise, however, is the need to monitor crops as what might appear completely healthy above ground could be significantly impacted below ground. One of the country’s leading authorities on rhizoctonia is Alan McKay, principal scientist soil biology and molecular diagnostics with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), which is the research division of the SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). In this podcast, Dr McKay discusses rhizoctonia identification and management. Rhizoctonia, disease, Alan McKay, crop protection

Episode 200: Soil Wetter And Seeder Strategies For Non - Wetting Sands

An estimated 12.5 million hectares of sandy soils in southern and Western Australia are deemed at moderate and high risks of water repellence. In this podcast, researcher Dr Jack Desbiolles from the University of South Australia evaluates the effectiveness of available soil wetter chemistries and seeding tactics to improve crop productivity in non-wetting sandy soil. The research findings explored in this podcast are the result of two field trials that were run in 2018 and 2019, made possible through GRDC investment. The trials were conducted in a 270mm growing season rainfall zone at Murlong on the Eyre Peninsula, namely a soil wetter evaluation trial and a seeder strategy evaluation trial, aiming to compare a number of seeding strategies. Jack Desbiolles, soil constraints, agronomy, soil and nutrition, wetting sands