National variety trials closerManaging climateSingle VisionWorld crop outlookMouse management

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The GRDC"s introduction of National Variety Trials has moved a step closer with the appointment of an NVT manager, Mr Alan Bedggood, from the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture. ACAS (Australian Crop Accreditation System) has been set up as a not-for-profit operator by the GRDC, GCA and the Australian Seed Federation.

The project leader for the NVT program, Dr Andreas Betzner, said the appointment of an NVT manager had cleared the way for the "expressions of interest" process for organisations to run the trials. He said the procurement process had now opened and referred interested parties to the GRDC website for further information. Applications close in mid-January (see page 15).

Dr Betzner said that although the plan was to implement the trials by April 2005 the complexities of setting up contracts and establishing operational frameworks might require a transition period. If so, the existing state-based CVT (Crop Variety Testing) program may continue for another 12 months.

For more information: Dr Andreas Betzner, 02 6272 5525,

The GRDC-supported "Managing Climate Variability R&D Program" has established an online information resource for growers. The website provides access to program activities and research outcomes. GRDC western panel chairman Dale Baker, who also chairs the climate variability program, says the website contains on-ground research and will be a useful tool for growers and others affected by climate variability. Mr Baker says growers will eventually be able to download the latest climate variability decision-support tools from the website.

For more information: Dale Baker, 0427 913 980

The Grains Council of Australia has commissioned a study to improve representative structures for the "Single Vision" Grains Industry Strategy.

GCA President Keith Perrett says the study will incorporate the results of the Single Vision grower forums. He says the objective is to provide growers with new structures capable of meeting the anticipated increased demand for their product and which also put producers in direct touch with market shifts and other value chain requirements.

For more information: Niree Creed, 0418 625 595

The worldwide consumption of wheat is forecast to rise by 17 million tonnes to 604 million tonnes in the latest 2004- 2005 figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE). ABARE says this is being driven by increased feed-wheat demand in the European Union and the Russian Federation.

However, consumption is likely to be more than matched by increased production in the European Union, Russian Federation and the Ukraine, and this may push down wheat prices to US$148/t.

In other crops, increased corn production in the US, China and the European Union is expected to force prices down to about US$110/t, while ABARE predicts a seven percent increase in world oilseed consumption, and a 13 percent increase in production.

The complete ABARE report, "Grains Industry - Outlook for 2004-05", is available free through Ground Cover Direct on 1800 110 44 or

The GRDC is working with Animal Control Technologies (ACTA) to raise awareness of mouse activity in crops to try to prevent mouse plagues through early detection control. To improve growers" understanding of the issue, the new MOUSEOFF ZP Technical Booklet has been inserted into this issue of Ground Cover in WA where mice have already been a serious problem this season.

This technical booklet provides information about mice in crops, methods for minimising population build-ups, and how to use zinc phosphide strategically to prevent crop damage. For extension staff, agronomists and rural merchants, a MOUSEOFF ZP Technical DVD/Video has also been produced.

Free copies are available from ACTA by contacting Karen Pontin on 03 9308 9688 or via email at

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