South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula will be the sole focus of attention for the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Southern Region Panel during its upcoming annual spring tour.
Panel members and GRDC staff will meet with growers, researchers, advisers, farming systems groups, agribusiness and other grains industry specialists during the tour which begins on September 9.
Panel Chair John Bennett, a grain grower from Lawloit in Victoria’s West Wimmera, says the tour will involve visits to growers’ properties, research facilities, trial sites and downstream and other industry enterprises.
“The tour serves an important function in terms of developing a greater understanding of issues facing growers and identifying their research, development and extension (RD&E) priorities,” Mr Bennett said.
“We get to have meaningful two-way conversations with growers about the obstacles they face and can see first-hand just what those constraints are and the impact they’re having on grower profitability.
“The visit to Eyre Peninsula will also enable us to assess the effectiveness of past and present GRDC investments in RD&E in the region as well as potential new opportunities.”
Mr Bennett says Panel members and staff will be exposed to profitability barriers and opportunities that not only affect growers on EP, but have broader relevance across the entire southern cropping region (South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania).
The Panel’s spring tour is centred on a different part of the southern cropping region each year.
GRDC Southern Panel member Peter Kuhlmann, a grain grower at Mudamuckla, has been instrumental in development of this year’s tour itinerary, seeking input from a range of EP grains industry representatives.
Mr Kuhlmann says he and other Panel members will discuss with the region’s growers the various production issues they are dealing with in their farming systems – which have been subjected to variable conditions again this season.
“These issues range from establishing crops under dry or marginal conditions, increasing the productivity of calcareous soils, weed control and disease management, through to soil amelioration and optimising canola yields,” he says.
From Ceduna, the tour party will travel east, with the first stop focusing on the unique issues associated with grains production on calcareous soils and low rainfall cropping constraints in general.
From there, the group will travel to Cungena to view GRDC investments in various projects and dry sowing trials being undertaken by the SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI), which is the research division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, and then to Minnipa where growers’ properties and the Minnipa Agricultural Centre will be visited.
A farm visit at Kimba on day two will involve discussions about grains production on sandy soils and the Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group’s activities, after which the T-Ports development at Lucky Bay will be inspected.
The first stop on day three will be the University of SA’s engineering trial site at Murlong where research is being undertaken through a GRDC investment. While there, Panel members and staff will also meet with the EP Liquid Fertiliser Buying Group representatives.
A GRDC Southern Pulse Agronomy trial site at Tooligie Hill and a canola agronomy trial site at Yeelanna will be inspected before the group completes its travels in Port Lincoln where a Panel meeting on the Thursday will conclude the visit to the EP.