News in brief

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Frost alert

Growers throughout the southern cropping region are being advised to expect a heightened frost risk this season due to the developing El Niño.

Although maximum temperatures are generally warmer than average during El Niño years, decreased cloud cover often leads to cooler-than-average night-time temperatures during winter and spring, particularly across eastern Australia.

The Bureau of Meteorology says regions of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria can experience 15 to 30 per cent more frost days during an El Niño than the historical average.

Dr Peter Hayman, principal scientist in climate applications with the South Australian Research and Development Institute, says reduced soil moisture and clear nights – conditions typically associated with El Niño events – are conducive to frost.

Dr Hayman, who is involved in GRDC-funded frost research projects, says while the risk of frost is expected to increase this year, the exact timing and frequency cannot be predicted.

He says the best management option at this stage is early identification of damage and implementation of strategies to salvage frosted crops.

See also:

Why frost needs a risk-management mindset and Quick thinking turns a profit from frosted wheat.

GRDC Research Code DAS00158

Canola herbicide alert

Canola growers are being urged to recheck label directions for products containing haloxyfop, following changes to labels that clarify the correct timing for applying the herbicide.

The Australian Oilseed Federation (AOF) is warning growers that they risk illegal crop residues if the new label directions are not followed fully.

Herbides containing haloxyfop as the active ingredient (such as Verdict® 520, Asset® or Inquest®) are the main choice of most growers.

However, if this group of herbicides is used in canola and other oilseeds it must not be applied after the eight-leaf stage of the crop or if stem elongation has started before the eight-leaf stage.

Confining the use of haloxyfop to before stem elongation avoids the occurrence of residues in the harvested grain. Use after stem elongation risks the appearance of haloxyfop residues in canola grain and market rejection.

The AOF reminds growers that much of Australia’s canola production is exported and therefore must meet the chemical residue rules of the importing country.

More information:

Steve Jones, Aglign Consulting Pty Ltd,
0405 382 717,

New seed venture

Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company) has launched a new seed business, Dow Seeds, in Australia to coincide with the realease of two new wheat varieties, DS Darwin and DS Pascal.

This new business builds on the company’s long experience in plant breeding and advanced breeding tools, technologies and germplasm.

Dow Seeds business leader (Australia and New Zealand) Richard Chambers, says the focus in Australia will be high-yielding, milling-quality wheat varieties.

“There will be new varieties to choose from, offering traits that are valued by both growers and consumers,” he says.

Dow has been involved in wheat breeding in Australia since 2011, in collaboration with the GRDC, CSIRO, New Zealand Plant and Food Research, and Seednet, through its subsidiary Advantage Wheats.

Dow AgroSciences’ wheat-breeding program now involves research collaboration with the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

More information:

Sandra Aloi,
Dow AgroSciences,
0417 894 115

Agronomist honoured

Image of Michael Moodie

The winner of the inaugural Ag Institute Australia Jim McColl Young Consultant Award, Michael Moodie

The inaugural Ag Institute Australia Jim McColl Young Consultant Award has been won by Mildura-based agronomist Michael Moodie.

Mr Moodie, who consults to Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF), was recognised for his contribution to improving the economic, environmental and social sustainability of dryland farming systems.

Mr Moodie established his own business, Moodie Agronomy, in 2009 and, as well as advising private clients, he manages several projects, largely in conjunction with MSF.

The award is in honour of Dr Jim McColl, who died in 2013 and who is recognised as one of the early pioneers of the private farm-consulting movement. He specialised in a whole-of-farm approach, including business management.

In accepting the award, Mr Moodie noted the risks in establishing a business and that this award particularly recognises the need to take calculated risks to succeed.

More information:

Ag Institute Australia

Pulse activities launched

The United Nations has announced 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP) and Australia will be launching its pulse-related activities for the year at the Melbourne Museum on 17 September. The 1.30pm launch will be followed by a gala dinner for stakeholders in the pulse supply chain, from paddock to plate. The dinner is to help to raise funds for activities throughout 2016.

The Australian IYP Committee, established in 2014, has been making plans and directing activities to raise Australia’s profile as a producer of quality pulses while increasing the domestic consumption of pulses to meet the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council’s recommendation for all Australians to eat legumes at least two to three times a week (see Lights, cameras, pulses, action).

More information:


Sensitive technology tightens residues compliance


Pulse confidence continues

GRDC Project Code DAS00158

Region National, South