Global Agriculture

Boost for Australian Soybean industry

28 July 2023, AU: The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has partnered with Soy Australia, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries to develop the online Soybean Production Manual: A complete guide to growing soybean in Australia.

The online manual, adapted from the ‘Better Soybean Training Manual’, is part of the joint initiative aimed at supporting the expansion of the Australian soybean industry by providing updated soybean training and technical resources to Australian growers and agronomists.

CEO of Pulse Australia, Nick Goddard, says the Australian soybean industry is a small and complex yet valuable industry that would benefit significantly from the initiative.

“While the Australian soybean industry is relatively small by global standards, it plays an important role in many farming systems as a rotation crop across eastern Australia through improving soil fertility and as a disease break. It is also increasingly providing a higher value crop option for growers,” Mr Goddard says.

GRDC senior regional manager – North Gillian Meppem says that strategic RD&E investment is playing a vital role building growers’ confidence in trialling new or non-traditional crops such as soybean.

“GRDC has been supportive of increasing grain production in non-traditional areas by ground-truthing or testing known research at local levels, so growers and advisers understand how outcomes can be applied on-farm in different regions,” Ms Meppem says.

“This resource is another opportunity to assist growers to make informed decisions into new cropping rotations from the beginning of their venture.

NSW Department of Primary Industries research agronomist at the Grafton Primary Industries Institute, Dr Natalie Moore, and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries senior development extension officer, Carla Atkinson, explain that the modules will include a variety of information.

“The manual is quite unique in that it contains 10 interactive online modules. In each module there is material including diagnostic photographs, pop out printable checklists and factsheets, videos, and links to other cropping resources such as GRDC updates, published trial reports, and cropping guides,” Dr Moore says.

Dr Moore adds that although the manual is primarily aimed at agronomists, all the information will be available to growers.

“Lack of training for agronomists in soybean production has been an industry-wide issue that we’ve been very keen to address, but we’re also making the resources publicly available online so that anyone can access and benefit from the information, including growers.

Ms Atkinson explains that the manual’s information has been curated by leading industry experts under 10 primary modules.

“Currently, we only have a print version of the ‘Better Soybean Training Manual’. This new online manual has been completely reviewed and updated by industry experts and packaged into an easy-to-access web format.

“We have an excellent variety of information curated in 10 modules: 1) marketing, 2) rotation and variety choice, 3) crop nutrition, 4) plant growth and development, 5) agronomy, 6) weed management, 7) disease management, 8) pest management, 9) harvesting, and 10) safe storage,” she says.

Ms Atkinson adds that the project will also encompass several workshops commencing in August and September this year to support and expand on these modules.

“The first round of workshops will provide an opportunity for agronomists from different areas to come together and share knowledge, exchange ideas, and network with industry peers,” Ms Atkinson says.

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