Global Agriculture

Grower issues to the fore at GRDC summer forums

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10 February 2023, AU: Western Australian grain growers are invited to have their say on issues affecting on-farm profitability at upcoming forums being held across the grainbelt.

GRDC’s National Grower Network (NGN) provides an opportunity to work with GRDC staff and panel members to prioritise local research, development and extension issues.

In partnership with Rural Edge and local grower groups, GRDC is hosting a series of summer grower forums as part of the NGN initiative. Beginning in Yuna on February 20, the forums have been designed to capture grass-roots ideas, as well as share the latest locally relevant research outcomes.

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Luke Dawson, says the forums enable GRDC to be responsive to local issues and to create a stronger and more direct connection with a broad base of growers, advisers and researchers.

“These events are about building strong relationships so when an issue or opportunity arises, growers and other stakeholders can approach us with confidence,” Mr Dawson says.

“Our invitation is for everybody to help GRDC understand what issues are affecting your on-farm profitability and influence the research, development and extension (RD&E) agenda.

“This is a genuine opportunity for growers to have a say when it comes to their RD&E needs and priorities on-farm; it’s a ground-up approach to information gathering.”

Events include free refreshments and light dinner and will be held at the following locations:

  • Yuna, Yuna Community Centre – February 20
  • Carnamah, Carnamah Town Hall – February 21
  • Narembeen, Narembeen Recreation Centre – February 22
  • Newdegate, Newdegate Golf Club – February 23.

Guest speakers across the forums include:

  • Ciara Beard, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) – Management of sclerotinia in narrow leaf lupins (Yuna)
  • Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) representative – Lupin breeding update including herbicide tolerance progress (Yuna)
  • Darren Hughes, Laconik – Does fallow work for you? (Carnamah and Narembeen)
  • Kate Witham, SLR Agriculture – The fit of long coleoptile wheat for WA (Carnamah)
  • Glen Riethmuller, DPIRD – Soil amelioration and sodic soil treatments (Narembeen and Newdegate)
  • DPIRD representative – Management of Spot Form Net Blotch in the low rainfall zone (Newdegate).

The summer NGN forums follow a successful GRDC NGN ‘Summer Sesh’ series held in January in Mandurah, Bremer Bay and Dunsborough.

Issues raised by growers at the Summer Sesh forums included maximising nitrogen efficiency at all stages of season, economics of alternative nitrogen sources, managing heavy stubbles and subsurface and deep drainage solutions for management of salty country.

Mr Dawson says that once issues affecting profitability were identified at NGN forums, attendees voted to prioritise these issues locally for consideration of investment.

“The NGN process ensures that where local development and extension needs can be identified, investments can receive prompt action for the forthcoming season,” he says.

“Input gathered at every NGN forum is also provided to GRDC investment managers to help direct levies towards broader RD&E priorities in the areas of crop genetics, enabling technologies, soils, nutrition, agronomy, farming systems, crop protection and biosecurity.”

Also Read: GST rates on agrochemicals must be maintained at 18% to avoid inverted duty structure: CCFI

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