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Western GRDC Grower Network News

The Kwinana West Grower Network met in Beverley in late July to discuss topics of high priority for their port zone area. As part of this meeting, they caught up with researcher Ben Biddulph at DPIRD’s frost evaluation trial site at Dale about 100km east of Perth.
Photo: Julianne Hill

GRDC western region Grower Network groups (formerly known as Regional Cropping Solutions Network groups) met in July and August to discuss and prioritise constraints and opportunities for the five port zone areas.

Interesting discussions were held, particularly given difficult seasonal conditions at the time and the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, especially in terms of parts, labour and trade.

Topics of high interest discussed by Grower Network members included:

  • Deep sowing – tools, machinery, varieties and agronomy
  • Frost – agronomy including the need for a better understanding of frost phenology in cereals, canola and lupins
  • Oat agronomy, profitability and resilience
  • Improving nitrogen use efficiency, including through the use of nitrogen applied at variable rates
  • Rhizoctonia – it is more evident in 2020. How and why do we better manage this issue for future years?
  • Brome grass – incidence and control options
  • Heat stress, early sowing and the fit of long coleoptile varieties (and where the research/breeding is currently at)
  • ‘Strip and disc’ – what are the pros and cons and how do we approach this system?
  • Weather forecasting – how to better interpret weather forecasts and what they mean for growers
  • Non-wetting soils, especially selecting soil types that will respond to various treatments or amelioration options
  • Pulses and legumes – knowledge and capability around chickpeas, faba beans and vetch
  • Hybrid versus open pollinated (OP) canola varieties in medium and low rainfall areas.

These and many more ideas were discussed, with all opportunities forwarded to GRDC for their consideration for future possible research, development or extension.

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