The Week that Was: Sunday 10 May to Saturday 16 May

The Week that Was: Sunday 10 May to Saturday 16 May

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A great aerial overview of seeding at the Wagga Wagga property of GRDC's grower extension and communication senior manager, Luke Gaynor, is just one snapshot of what's happening around the nation at this busy time on the grain growing calendar that we are featuring at GroundCover online. PHOTO GRDC

A great aerial overview of seeding at the Wagga Wagga property of GRDC's grower extension and communication senior manager, Luke Gaynor, is just one snapshot of what's happening around the nation at this busy time on the grain growing calendar that we are featuring at GroundCover online. PHOTO GRDC

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Catch-up with GroundCover online grains R&D news from the past week and send us your seeding pics.

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It has been an exciting week for GroundCover™ online as we put the call out for grain growers across Australia to send us their best on-farm photos from crop seeding and early crop emergence.

You can see these great images at our online gallery (see link below). And if you have photos you'd like to share with us from out in the field, email them to socialmedia@grdc.com.au to be included.

Also during the past week, we continued to feature a wide range of innovative grower stories, topical and timely grains R&D news and links to events and resources that you can catch-up on by clicking the links below.

PHOTO Gallery - Showcasing and seeking new season seeding and crop photos from around the nation

Sun sets on another day of seeding at the Warooka, South Australia, property of Richard Murdoch, who is a GRDC Southern Region Panel member. PHOTO GRDC

Sun sets on another day of seeding at the Warooka, South Australia, property of Richard Murdoch, who is a GRDC Southern Region Panel member. PHOTO GRDC

As the tractors continued to roll around Australia - sowing the nation's 2020 winter crops and grains R&D trials - GroundCover™ online started receiving your on-farm photos this week - and we dug into the GRDC archives to pull out some top seeding, emerging crop and researcher images as well.

We are still calling on growers, advisers and researchers to submit your favorite pictures from the paddock to feature at our online gallery.

The gallery will be regularly updated in coming weeks, so just email us with your location and a brief description of what's happening. See the full story here.

Incremental improvements a winner when farming on the edge

South Australian grower Peter Kuhlmann farms in what he describes as a 'hostile environment', where he says incremental improvements to grain yields, costs and prices can make a big difference to his overall business profit. PHOTO Andrew Brooks

South Australian grower Peter Kuhlmann farms in what he describes as a 'hostile environment', where he says incremental improvements to grain yields, costs and prices can make a big difference to his overall business profit. PHOTO Andrew Brooks

Our article about Peter Kuhlmann - a third-generation Ceduna, South Australia, grower - proved enormously popular this week.

Peter is focused on improving crop yield and price, while decreasing business costs. He says achieving this - even by just one per cent - can significantly boost overall yearly profits, particularly in low-rainfall, marginal grain growing regions.

Peter understands low-input, low-margin farming - and the huge value of making small adjustments in his streamlined mixed cropping and livestock business.

"Just by increasing the crop yield by 11 kilograms per hectare, which is not much to most businesses, my grain business profit will increase by 11 per cent," he says.

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) chief economist Ross Kingwell presented a paper to the 2019 GRDC Grains Research Updates on the value of 'one-percenters', which prompted Peter to use his own data to check how the results applied to his business.

He says benchmarking is useful when comparing business performance against other producers, but believes the real value is to track your own business performance over time.

Peter says other analyses he uses include determining paddock gross margins and variable costs to see which paddocks are making money. Read the full story here.

Serradella provides protein kick to wheat crops in WA

Ardath, Western Australia, grower Phillip Foss told GroundCover he has been using serradella in his rotation for more than 15 years and is reaping rewards from this pasture-cropping system. PHOTO Evan Collis

Ardath, Western Australia, grower Phillip Foss told GroundCover he has been using serradella in his rotation for more than 15 years and is reaping rewards from this pasture-cropping system. PHOTO Evan Collis

In Western Australia, research trials on Phillip and Kelsie Foss' Ardath property are highlighting the value of serradella in improving protein levels in subsequent cereal crops - despite a lack of summer rainfall and dry seasons.

The project is examining the impact of the pasture legume on the protein, yield, soil disease and nitrogen levels of cereal crops planted in following years.

A long-term supporter of pasture legumes, Phillip has been using serradella in his rotation for more than 15 years.

Given his reliance on sheep in the system, the pasture legumes provide a number of benefits, including weed control, livestock feed and yield increases in his cereal crops.

Phillip says the hard-seeded pasture legumes - which have the seed still contained in the pod - allow him to get a jump on his seeding program and plant the crop in late summer - knowing it will take months for the pod and hard coating around the seed to break down before germination.

He is particularly interested in the hard-seeded Margurita (PBR) serradella because of its regenerating properties, which allow him to have one year in pasture, two in crop, then back to pasture without having to replant. Read the full story here.

A nasty surprise could be in store for growers when opening silos

If you have found stored grain insects during seeding, it is advised that fumigation of silos is the only control option. GRDC has some useful resources providing tips to optimise the effectiveness of treatments. PHOTO Chris Warrick

If you have found stored grain insects during seeding, it is advised that fumigation of silos is the only control option. GRDC has some useful resources providing tips to optimise the effectiveness of treatments. PHOTO Chris Warrick

Grain growers sowing this year's winter crops may be finding some nasty surprises when opening their silos for the first time in a while. If stored grain has not been monitored since harvest, it is possible that insects have infested storages - necessitating treatment.

GRDC Grain Storage Extension Project manager, Chris Warrick, says his team often receives calls from growers in autumn after they have discovered insects while cleaning seed or at sowing.

He says the only on-farm control options to kill insects are:

  • phosphine - which can be applied by growers;
  • ProFume® - which can only be applied by a commercial fumigator; or
  • establishing a controlled atmosphere with nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

"All of these measures require gas-tight storage (AS2628) for reliable control results that avoid the development of resistance in insects," Mr Warrick says.

To assist growers with treating stored grain, Mr Warrick has recorded two webinars on fumigating with phosphine and pressure testing silos. Read the full story here.

New and improved GRDC weed ute guide now available for Australia's croppers

GRDC Manager Weeds, Dr Jason Emms, says croppers can get armed with a new GRDC tool to fast-track identification of the most common weeds found in their paddocks. PHOTO GRDC

GRDC Manager Weeds, Dr Jason Emms, says croppers can get armed with a new GRDC tool to fast-track identification of the most common weeds found in their paddocks. PHOTO GRDC

Accurately identifying weeds is a key part of effective management - and a handy new resource could help make the task easier for growers and agronomists.

GRDC recently released its first comprehensive 'Common Weeds of Grain Cropping: The Ute Guide' - available as a hard copy or digital manual - covering most key weeds impacting farming systems across Australia. This national version replaces the former regional and seasonal weed ute guides.

GRDC Manager Weeds, Dr Jason Emms, says the new and improved national guide was developed in response to calls from industry for a practical, easy-to-access tool for weed identification in the paddock.

"Weed management is one of the toughest challenges facing Australian growers and costs them an estimated $3.3 billion every year," he says.

Dr Emms says correct identification of weed species is critical for effective management and the 'Common Weeds of Grain Cropping: The Ute Guide' aims to help support those working in the paddock.

Growers, advisers, students and researchers can order copies of the guide free of charge - although there are standard postage and handling charges of $10 per copy. For more information, free-call 1800 11 00 44 or email: ground-cover-direct@canprint.com.au and quote GRDC Order Code- GRDC1331. Read the full story here.

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