GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Wagga Wagga

GroundCover Live and online, stay up to date with daily grains industry news online, click here to read more

GRDC Research Updates are a hothouse of new projects, debate, knowledge-sharing, ready-to-go innovations and a sneak peak at what is on the horizon for our cropping industry. For this issue of Ground Cover we crossed the country to cover Updates in Adelaide, Wagga Wagga, Goondiwindi, Auburn, Perth and Yuna.

Wagga Wagga

Portrait of Tim Tarlington, Campbell Wilson and Tom De Mattia

(From left) Wagga Wagga-based Riverina Co-operative Society agronomist Tim Tarlington caught up with Forbes AGnVET field marketing agronomist Campbell Wilson and Coolamon Delta Agribusiness agronomist Tom De Mattia at the Wagga Wagga GRDC Grains Research Update in February. The Update focused on the production drivers of farming systems in southern NSW.

PHOTO: Toni Somes

Industry gathers to drive change

Portrait of Rohan Rainbow and David Lord

Also at the Wagga Wagga GRDC Grains Research Update were Crop Protection Australia director Rohan Rainbow (left) and GRDC Northern Panel and regional grower services support officer David Lord.

PHOTO: Toni Somes

More than 240 advisers and growers from southern and central New South Wales gathered at Charles Sturt University in February to hear about the latest outcomes of national and local GRDC-supported grains research.

The two-day event, ‘Informed decisions – driving change’, sought to promote discussion among grains industry specialists on the production drivers in farm businesses.

Lachlan Caldwell, chair of the 2016 Wagga Wagga GRDC Grains Research Update steering committee, said the list of speakers had been pulled together to develop business owners’ decision-making skills.

Keynote sessions delivered insights into the pulse industry domestically and internationally, and a new perspective on how agricultural data could be harnessed to foster innovation and profitable business opportunities.

The final keynote opened a window on the science of seasonal forecasting and weather predictions for the coming year.

Other topics ranged from optimal seeding dates, crop variety selection, disease management, satellite imagery, controlled-traffic farming, best practice nutrition tactics and farm profitability.

More information:

Lachlan Caldwell,
0427 816 897,,

Data platform under development

Portrait of Charlie Thomas

National Farmers' Federation general manager of rural affairs and agribusiness Charlie Thomas.

Charlie Thomas, the general manager of rural affairs and agribusiness for the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), told advisers and growers at the Wagga Wagga GRDC Grains Research Update that digital data and innovation were transforming Australian agriculture.

With ongoing investment and development, he predicted Australian agriculture would be a $100-billion industry by 2030.

To tap into growth opportunities, he outlined an ambitious initiative that industry, through the NFF, was undertaking to develop a collaborative and open digital platform with the aim of enabling farm businesses to collect, share and analyse agricultural information.

Mr Thomas hoped the platform would facilitate better marketing of Australian products to domestic and international buyers.
Globally, more than 50 people are working on the technology and there are plans for a July launch.

He said the aim is to aggregate buying power for farm inputs, provide better access to research and knowledge, build community through forums and blogs, and unify and strengthen the voice of Australian agriculture. A suite of digital decision-support tools is also under development.

However, Mr Thomas said poor internet connectivity was hampering the industry’s capacity to take advantage of digital technological advancements.

More information:

Charlie Thomas,
02 6269 5666,;

National Farmers' Federation

Pulses lined up on table for sale in India

Pulses on sale in India.

Pulses – price triggers the best tactic

NZX Australian Agribusiness grain marketing consultant Ron Storey said there were huge opportunities in the international market for Australia’s pulses and with 2016 the United Nations’ International Year of Pulses there was never a better time to promote their consumption.

Although Australia was a small pulse producer by global standards, he said it was a large exporter of chickpeas and the Indian subcontinent was an important player in the market.

Portrait of Ron Storey

Ron Storey of Storey Marketing Services and NZX Australian Agribusiness.

PHOTO: Nicole Baxter

“India sets the pace in pulse markets where the monsoonal rains dictate market sentiment,” Mr Storey said. “Short-term price spikes and dips occur as Indian governments (federal and provincial) juggle the need for price stability and food security for its vast population.”

More broadly, he pointed to a global generation of consumers who were now more discerning and basing buying decisions on ethics, origin and health. Mr Storey said there were strong environmental arguments for plant protein to be a sustainable contributor to the growing protein demand in developing countries.

To capitalise on this, he said pulses had a positive story to tell because they could be used in a range of ways, including as meat substitutes and snackfoods for the health-conscious middle class.

Mr Storey acknowledged the volatility of pulse markets, but said growers need to set realistic trigger prices and capture good margins when they were on offer.

“Using ‘price decile charts’ can assist growers in their price risk management,” he explained. “Trying to pick the top of the market is not a good selling strategy.”

Mr Storey said most grain traders issued their daily indicative bids by mid-morning. At times, growers may be able to negotiate a better selling price than the publicly disclosed indicative bid and having a target price in the marketplace was one way of achieving that, he said. To reduce risk, Mr Storey encouraged spreading sales over several buyers, checking the market’s liquidity and ensuring any foray into value adding actually added profit, not more cost to the bottom line.– Nicole Baxter

More information:

Ron Storey,
0418 332 431,,



Tactics that take the edge off frosts Mallee bite


Opening the gate to virtual visitors

GRDC Research Updates:

GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Adelaide

GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Auburn

GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Goondiwindi

GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Perth

GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Yuna

GRDC Project Code ICN00021

Region North