CQ growers benefit from southern fact-finding tour

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CQ growers’ tour participants (L-R): Hayley Eames (DAF), Zoe Lynch (DAF), Scott Becker (Moura), Mark Wagner (Rolleston), Phillip Wilkie (Biloela), Kurt Mayne (Rolleston), Stuart Johnstone (Banana), Glenn Garside (Capella), Ben Byriel (Bauhinia), David Colyer (Bauhinia), Barry Harmsworth (bus driver), Wayne & Simone Chapman (Taroom).

“Grower-to-grower learning is recognised by the GRDC as a really effective way to share information and experiences that can drive practice change,” Mrs McDonnell said.

“What we are seeing is growers placing enormous value on quality research that has been tried and tested by their peers at a grassroots level. This is why tours like this resonate with growers and why the GRDC will continue to champion this approach.”

CQ Grower Solutions Group project officer and tour leader Hayley Eames from DAF, Biloela, said the tour itinerary had been developed to address priority issues raised by the region’s growers, such as:

  • Innovative solutions for hard to control weeds, including chaff lining, optical spray technologies and emerging technologies;
  • How to better integrate residual herbicides into weed management strategies;
  • How to win the battle against weeds using the WeedSmart ‘Big 6’;
  • Precision ag technologies and how growers can get the most out of their current equipment and does precision ag pay?
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Growers discussing the features of the Agrifac self-propelled boom spray equipped with optical spray technology as part of the 2018 WeedSmart Week field trip. Photos DAF.

Understanding precision agriculture was a priority for those on the tour and involved a session in Moree with McGregor Gourlay digital manager Brooke Sauer, who explained how weed maps could be developed using drones or planes, and then interpreted using specialised software.

Cutting edge agricultural research was the highlight of the final stop-over at the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering in Toowoomba. Presentations from USQ featured new apps in the pipeline for pest detection, using drone technology to combat herbicide resistance, and information on how smartphones might soon be able to monitor crop growth.

Biloela grower Phillip Wilkie said the fact-finding tour was a genuinely effective way to see what others in the industry were doing and achieving.

“What I learnt was that it is not hard to change a few things to get a better understanding of what’s happening with your soil, and things like trash placement, yield mapping and stubble retention can make a difference,” Mr Wilkie said.

“I was also impressed by just how resilient growers are, even when times are tough, and how passionate and committed they are about tackling problems like weeds and herbicide resistance.

“My take home messages were farming businesses are unique, we need to keep encouraging young people to get involved and as a grower it was a reminder nothing is impossible – we need to take advantage of situations and not put things in the too hard bin.”

CQ growers on the tour included: Kurt Mayne, Rolleston; Mark Wagner, Rolleston; Glenn Garside, Capella; Royce Staier, Kilcummin; Justin Staier, Clermont; Ben Byriel, Bauhinia; David Colyer, Bauhinia; Scott Becker, Moura; Phillip Wilkie, Biloela; Stuart Johnstone, Banana; Simone Chapman, Taroom; Wayne Chapman, Taroom; and Hayley Eames, DAF, Biloela, and Zoe Lynch, DAF, Emerald.

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