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    INFORMED: Grains Research and Development Corporation National Grower Network members Roger Armstrong, an Agriculture Victoria senior scientist in Horsham, left, and Craig Drum, Dagro Consulting, Tatyoon, at the Bendigo update.

AgLife: Grains industry prepares for winter cropping season

Victoria’s premier grains research, development and extension forum has helped equip the state’s grain industry for the 2021 winter cropping season.

About 180 advisers, growers, researchers and industry personnel attended a Grains Research and Development Corporation Grains Research Update at Bendigo earlier this month.

The event, which also attracted 300 registrations for an online live- stream service, provided information about potential challenges and latest research findings, knowledge and advice.

GRDC southern grower relations manager Tom Blake said it was refreshing, after limitations on face-to-face events last year, for industry personnel to network in-person and speak with leading researchers and provide direct feedback to GRDC about its investment agenda.

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“The Bendigo update was an important platform for extending critical information to the state’s growers and advisers ahead of sowing this season’s crops,” he said.

“Among the top-line messages from a line-up of industry experts was the need for growers to eliminate the ‘green bridge’ of weeds and volunteer cereals that summer rainfall events have promoted in some regions.

“By removing the green bridge growers can better manage pests and diseases to reduce the risk to yields.”

Other key messages included:

• Stripe rust in wheat was likely to be an important disease in 2021, especially where summer rain has supported disease carryover. Field experiments have found the new StripeRustWM App to be a useful tool to support in-crop fungicide decisions;

• Severe blackleg crown canker occurred when canola plants were infected during early seedling growth. Before sowing, use the BlacklegCM decision support tool to identify high-risk paddocks and explore management strategies to reduce yield loss;

• Encouraging growers and advisers to use PestFacts south eastern to remain informed about invertebrate pests and beneficials in broadacre crops and pastures during the winter cropping season;

• More efficient use of glyphosate, combined with effective weed-management strategies to combat increasing glyphosate resistance in annual ryegrass;

• New registrations for Group G herbicides were expanding and outlined ways these herbicides could be used;

• Responses to subsoil amelioration with organic materials appeared to be soil-type specific, requiring an assessment of both subsoil and topsoil soil properties, including dispersion;

• An assessment of current ‘rules of thumb’ for predicting nitrogen fertiliser requirements in southern region cropping systems had identified the need to update current assumptions;

• Stocks of soil organic carbon have declined in many Australian agricultural systems, including in dryland grains production;

• For commonly grown faba bean varieties, sowing in April optimised grain yield in all rain zones across varying seasons;

• Without a disease management plan that incorporated varietal resistance, paddock rotation, good agronomy practices and fungicides, grain yield losses of greater than 90 percent could be experienced in pulse crops;

• Vetch had the ability and potential to fit into modern farming rotations in most areas, particularly in mixed farming systems where growers were looking for a versatile break option;

• A new DNA soil testing service had been developed to measure Group E and F rhizobia numbers in soil to help growers in identifying the need to inoculate field pea, faba bean, lentil and vetch crops;

• By 2022, the GRDC’s National Phenology Initiative would provide a tool for growers and advisers that would be able to predict optimal sowing dates for different cultivars across Australia at the point of release.

More information from the update is available online at 

The entire March 31, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire March 31, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!