Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 085 March-April 2010 - North
MARCH – APRIL 2010 GROUND COVER News 3 n The Western Australian Government has lifted the trial limits on GM canola to allow full commercial production from this season onwards. Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman has approved an exemption order under WA’s Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003 to allow the cultivation of GM canola to provide growers with added choice in their cropping systems. The WA Government has also given the green light to growing GM cotton in the Ord Irrigation Scheme. The decision brings WA into line with NSW and Victoria, where growers have been able to grow GM canola commercially since 2008. Mr Redman said the decision was necessary to give WA farmers access to technology that would help them remain globally competitive. He said commercial trials in WA last year demonstrated successful cultivation and segregation of GM canola. “The BY CATHERINE NORWOOD n Five major summer crop industries will join forces in June to host the inaugural Australian Summer Grains Conference (ASGC) in Queensland. The event is sponsored by the GRDC and will bring together participants in the sorghum, maize, sunflower, soybean and mungbean industries on the Gold Coast from 21 to 24 June to exchange ideas, hear about the latest research and discuss new developments. The keynote speaker will be futurist and social commentator Bernard Salt, whose presentation will address national and global demographic trends and opportunities for Australia. Mr Salt is a partner in KPMG and consults widely on social and economic trends. “The global population is currently 6.5 billion and demographers talk about ‘peak humanity’ in 2070 reaching 9.1 billion,” Mr Salt says. “If the population increases by 50 per cent, then food production will also need to increase 50 per cent. Population is what drives demand for grain.” He says Australia is uniquely positioned to produce the food and commodities that the increasing world population will demand, particularly the expanding middle class in China and India. Australia’s capacity for broadacre agriculture is an advantage few other countries have and will help Australia become a significant supplier to the Asian ‘food bowl’. An increase in agricultural production will also lead to an increase in agricultural support services and Mr Salt says he anticipates this could halt the population decline many rural communities in grain- growing regions have been experiencing. “Population decline will plateau because of these food-production demand drivers, and there may be a modest recovery in some areas, although populations won’t recover to the extent of those in the 1950s. With farm amalgamations and mechanisation we Cunderdin grower Norm Jenzen planted 45 hectares of GM canola in 2009 as part of WA’s first commercial trials. PHOTO: EVAN COLLIS Bernard Salt SUMMER GRAIN INDUSTRIES ASSESS THE FUTURE simply need fewer people in agriculture.” Chair of the ASGC Dr Bob Henzell says the national and international outlook of the event will make it a valuable opportunity for professional development across the grains industry. “Every operation growers undertake is considered part of the whole farming system. So it makes sense to remove the fragmentation of single crop conferences and offer the latest knowledge and technical advice on the whole farming system from the summer crop point of view,” Dr Henzell says. Other confirmed speakers include Adjunct Professor Mark Cooper, from Pioneer Hi-Bred USA, who will speak on the future of plant breeding, and Dr TJ Higgins, from CSIRO Plant Industry, who will speak on the future impact of GM technology. Dr Jeff Clewett, from Agroclim, will speak on climate change and the implications for summer cropping in Australia. The conference will also cover summer grains agronomy, animal nutrition, biotechnology, breeding, genetics, climate change, economics, marketing, pathology, pest management, physiology, quality and new products. □ More information: Australian Summer Grains Conference, www.australiansummergrains.com.au WA green light for GM canola 17 commercial growers of GM canola throughout the agricultural areas were impressed with the performance of the GM technology package when compared with other varieties of canola,” he said. More than 1200 tonnes of GM canola were delivered to designated CBH Group receival sites during the trial. Mr Redman said there were 11 minor events and all were managed appropriately to maintain segregation from paddock to port. In the 2009 commercial trials, GM and non-GM canola yields were much the same, but growers reported that the GM technology allowed more efficient weed control and the option to dry seed. Mr Redman said GM canola was not expected to be suitable for all farming systems, but it provided an additional tool. □ More information: www.agric.wa.gov.au/gmcrops germplasm needs to survive this chilling before it survives even colder temperatures when ice forms.” The WA workshop brought together researchers, agronomists, growers, breeders and GRDC staff and panel members. It was staged at a time when severe frost damage was found in crops in locations across WA, SA, NSW and Victoria and a year after frost caused the loss of more than $100 million worth of grain in WA. Dr Juttner says input from attendees highlighted frost’s devastating impact: “When it is a dry year, you cut back on inputs and From: Page 1 plan for low yields. The difficulty is frost can decimate the best-looking crops after all the inputs have gone into them and the true damage is often not realised until harvest.” It is expected tenders for research projects to address key recommendations will be called for later this year. In the past decade, GRDC has invested approximately $10 million in frost research aimed a varietal improvement. □ More information: download the GRDC Fact Sheet ‘Managing the risk of frost’ at www.grdc.com.au/factsheets FIELD-TESTING STEPPED UP IN THE SEARCH FOR FROST PROTECTION 1800 624 597 www.ospray.com.au New unique higher strength impact formulation. Proven up to 105 days of disease protection of the emerging crop when applied in-furrow with fertiliser when sowing. Backed by Australian formulating facilities with in-house laboratory and quality control. Formulating 0353wm Innovation The trusted solution.
Ground Cover 084 January-February 2010 - North
Ground Cover 086 May-June 2010 - North