Ground Cover South : Ground Cover 070 September-October 2007 - South
RESEARCH TO PROFIT GRAINGROWERS 16 18 24 ISSUE 70 SEPTEMBER -- OCTOBER 2007 BIOTECHNOLOGY The gene revolution's next frontier SOIL CARBON The focus shifts to nitrogen DUAL-PURPOSE WHEATS New variety lifts grower choice Southern REGION n As hosts of Southern Farming Systems trials in Tasmania last year, the Bradley and Chilvers families’ farming partnership witnessed some spectacular results. Yields of an irrigated, CSIRO-numbered wheat line averaged 12 tonnes per hectare – returning 11.74t/ha when top-dressed with 50 kilograms of nitrogen a hectare and 12.21t/ ha when 100kg/ha of nitrogen was added. The partners’ own wheat crops, adjacent to the trial site on their property in Longford, Tasmania, were also impressive – their commercial crop TeesdaleA returned just under 10t/ha. These yields, along with the results from the trials, which were funded by the GRDC’s high-rainfall-zone wheat-breeding program, indicate that high-input crops have a promising future in Tasmania, where an increasing proportion of farmland is turning to cereals. “It proved that growing high-input, irrigated cereal crops is economically viable and competitive with other irrigated crops,” says Rob Bradley, who runs Starston Farms across several sites in Tasmania’s midlands with his wife Jo, her brothers Michael and Bill Chilvers and their wives Fiona and Jill. “There’s a lot of centre pivots and not many of them are growing cereal at this stage, but there is a huge potential for cereals to make inroads into irrigation in Tasmania.” Multiplication of the 12t/ha CSIRO line, 95102.1, is now under way and it is expected to be available by 2009. The trial crops, sown in May 2006, were grown with 485 millimetres of rain and 170mm of irrigation water, which is lower than average. However, Rob says the drier conditions are favourable in a zone susceptible to waterlogging. Now, as ever, it is a waiting game, and in Tasmania’s north, defined by an eight-month growing season, growers wait more than most. The long season is just one distinguishing feature of the unique ‘low-evaporation’ growing region known for its small plots and mixed enterprises, which are susceptible to waterlogging, frost, rust and excessive stubble loads. These conditions are why the trials are important. “It’s of industry benefit, but it’s also in our own best interest,” Michael Chilvers says. “If it’s done at your place it’s extremely relevant to your environment.” Looking ahead, the growers say they are hoping for more of a focus on higher-yielding feed barley rather than better malting varieties. Research into ongoing weed control, herbicide and nitrogen are among other priorities. “It’s all the little bits,” Michael says. “It’s the five-percenters that make a difference over a period of time.” -- Melissa Marino Feature: Page 8 IN THIS ISSUE Current and back issues in full on the official website of the GRDC: www.grdc.com.au 2 GRDC NEWS & VIEWS 3 FUTURE CROPS 6 CAREERS PUSH 7 NEW BARLEY LINE 9 GM CANOLA 10 CEREAL RUST 11 NEWS IN BRIEF 12 CROWN ROT 13 FEED GRAINS 14 VALUE-ADDING 20 SOILS 22 TILLAGE TRIALS 23 FARM MANAGEMENT 25 WEED MANAGEMENT 26 PLANT BREEDING 28 PANEL PROFILES 29 WEATHER 30 GENE SCENE "It's the five-percenters that make a difference": (from left) Bill Chilvers, Michael Chilvers and Rob Bradley at their Longford, Tasmania, property. PHOTO: MELISSA MARINO Continued: Page 5 FREE WITH THIS EDITION Yields encourage Tasmanian cereals WWW.GRDC.COM.AU Grains research and development info at your fingertips! Find out more by visiting new look www.grdc.com.au BY BRAD COLLIS n Research that specifically buttresses Australian grain farming against environmental and market pressures will form the core of GRDC-funded programs over the next five years. The GRDC’s new strategic R&D plan, Prosperity Through Innovation, lays down clear commercial priorities, and the management approach that will be taken to deliver these priorities, in a nationally coordinated grains research program. The overriding objective of the plan, covering 2007-08 to 2011-12, is to ensure that Australian growers remain internationally competitive and profitable through research and technologies that continue to deliver new improved crop varieties and increasingly resilient farming systems. Specific challenges being given priority include a deteriorating cost-price squeeze, new competitors, climate change, gene technologies, actual delivery to growers of R&D outcomes, social issues in regional areas and customer expectations. GRDC chairman Terry Enright says this latest strategic R&D plan provides a framework for investing in, and delivering, research outputs that address the major goals and needs identified by growers and the Australian Government. “Over the next five years the most likely drivers of change will include productivity growth, growers’ terms of trade, better use of rainfall, grain market dynamics, customer requirements and farm demographics,” he says. GRDC SETS NEW FIVE-YEAR ACTION PLAN FOR GRAINS R&D Mr Enright says the five-year plan is built on corporate strategies that are underpinned by the operations of the GRDC’s four lines of business. The corporate strategies are to: n coordinate a national grains R&D portfolio; n grow and leverage total grains R&D investment; and n ensure grains R&D is market-driven. The GRDC’s supporting lines of business are: Varieties, Practices (farming), New Products (new grain products and new farm products and services) and Communication & Capacity Building . Mr Enright says the latest five- year plan, which was 12 months in the making and involved extensive talks with growers, grower groups, advisers, researchers and the government, will be reviewed annually to ensure it keeps abreast of changing circumstances. Among some of the specific areas covered by the plan is an acknowledgement that climate change and variable rainfall patterns are a reality that growers have to deal with, especially in making best use of water. Mr Enright says the GRDC’s target is a 10 per cent increase by 2012 in water-use efficiency in the main agro-ecological zones. Targets have also been set for the development of new grains-based products and markets. Market demand will be the GRDC’s benchmark in assessing all proposed investments in new businesses and products, Mr Enright says.
Ground Cover 069 July-August 2007 - South
Ground Cover 071 November-December 2007 - South