The Australian Government Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) hosted a packed out meeting of local farmers and other interested observers in the Grenfell bowling club yesterday.
Given that the Weddin Shire and neighbouring districts are still predominantly reliant on the cropping industry as the backbone of their economies the meeting was timely as the harvest season draws near.
The gathering – dubbed a research Update – saw hot agronomic topics such as “combating weeds, boosting crop nutrition and yields” high on the agenda among the local grain growers in attendance to dissect and discuss.
Growers were also there to learn about wide ranging developments in research and practices that can have a positive impact for on-farm production.
The exciting factor regarding the Update was that a line-up of expert speakers from throughout Australia addressed growers on subjects and issues of most relevance and importance to them.
GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon opened the proceedings with a presentation on nitrogen management for yield and protein in wheat.
Following on from that Mr Shannon introduced Dr Neil Fettell, a researcher from the University of New England and a GRDC Southern Regional Panel member, as well as Dr James Hunt from the CSIRO.
They looked at decision-making considerations for topdressing with nitrogen and raised the question of whether plant genetics affect protein results.
Mr Shannon also commented that “local farmers often deliberated about changing their livestock/cropping mix and whether a change would impact on their future business risk.”
The meeting was also told in an address by Cam Nicholson from Nicon Rural Services that “It’s a dilemma for many people in farming so the likely implications need to be discussed.”
The vital question of herbicide resistance was given some scope by an expert in the field, Dr Chris Preston, from the University of Adelaide.
He provided growers with the latest data on herbicide resistance in weeds and an update on developments in pre-emergent options.
The question of whether it is worth spraying for yellow leaf spot was then taken up by the following speaker, Andrew Milgate from DPI NSW, following which in-crop strategies for knocking out fleabane and sow thistle were covered by Col Plater from Dow Agrosciences.
Mr Shannon then informed the gathering that vital new products were now available and those in development for the grains industry would be detailed by GRDC Manager of Commercial Farm Technologies, Paul Meibusch.
Mr Shannon summed up by saying that the day had been worthwhile for those in attendance and that it was great to see such a terrific response to the enterprise from local growers who were keen to ask questions and learn as much as they could from the experts.
He concluded by saying that it was “encouraging to see local grain growers down tools for half a day to attend the Update which is supported by Farmlink Research and Central West Farming Systems.
“The programs were developed for the Update and have involved considerable collaboration with local farmer representatives to ensure the topics are timely and regionally relevant and that the speakers selected were authorities on each of those issues,” he said.
All smiles at the huge turnout for the GRDC Update at the Grenfell bowling club yesterday – including guest speakers, organisers who were responsible for staging the very successful event, a guest farmer and an Australian farm machinery manufacturer – were (l/r) Neil Fettell (GRDC), Wayne McKay (Canowindra farmer), Di Parsons (Central West Farming Systems – Condobolin), John Cobden (CEO Farmlink
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