Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 060 February-March 2006 - North
Relatively low grain prices combined with high input costs, particularly fuel and fertiliser, continued to put pressure on growers’ margins. However, following the winter cereals harvest, favourable rains were expected to boost summer crop plantings. In reflecting on 2005 there were several industry milestones worthy of note, consistent with the GRDC’s Way Forward strategy. The overriding achievement was the continuing progress towards a more coordinated approach by GRDC and its industry research partners to national grains research and development. The industry input into this endeavour has been significant, highlighted in particular by the strengthening working relationship with AWB and Barley Australia (comprising ABB, CBH and Graincorp). 2005 also saw the successful introduction A YEAR OF WORKING TOGETHER Ground Cover is brought to you by growers and the Australian Government through the publisher, the Grains Research and Development Corporation. GRDC: 02 6272 5525; fax 02 6271 6430 Write to: The Editor -- Ground Cover PO Box 5367, Kingston ACT 2604 Executive Editor: Ms Maureen Cribb, Publications Manager, GRDC, 02 6272 5525 Managing Editor: Brad Collis, Coretext, 03 9670 1168, fax 03 9670 1127 Deputy Editor: Rebecca Thyer, Coretext Design and production: Coretext, www.coretext.com.au Advertising sales: Max Hyde, Hyde Media Pty Ltd, 03 9870 4161, fax 03 9870 4163, email@example.com Advertising is subject to terms and conditions published on the rate card, available from Hyde Media, and on the website www.coretext.com.au Printing: Capital Fine Print, Canberra Circulation: Ms Maureen Cribb, 02 6272 5525 ISSN 1039-6217 Registered by Australia Post Publication No. NAD 3994 Key to symbols Plant Breeders' Rights AThis symbol denotes that the variety is protected by Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR). Harvest Radio Where this symbol appears, readers can listen to an online audio presentation by: n going to www.grdc.com.au/radio/main.htm; n scrolling to the relevant link. Grains Research Updates Where this symbol appears, growers and advisers can catch up on the latest Grains Research Update information by: n going to www.grdc.com.au; n clicking on 'For Growers'; n clicking on 'Research Updates'; and n selecting your region (North, South, West, High-Rainfall, Irrigation). For more information Where this symbol appears, readers can access additional information or contact the people named. n The harvest has now been completed for the 2005 winter cereals crop and as always there has been considerable variability across the country. Some northern cropping areas were affected by variable rainfall during the season, and this was exacerbated by heavy rain during harvest, with a consequent impact on grain quality. The results in south-eastern Australia have been generally favourable with some of the highest yields for several years being recorded. The west also reported a good harvest, although frost damage in some areas was more severe than earlier thought. of National Variety Trials, an independent and nationally coordinated assessment of new crop varieties. Hand-in-glove with this have been significant advances in developing a national approach to barley and pulse breeding. It is also worth putting on record that the GRDC’s operating expenses in 2005 came in well below budget. And in response to approaches from the grains industry, the GRDC has continued to support the Single Vision and its progress towards implementing its goal to help the industry reposition itself over the medium-to-long term to be better equipped to deal with changing global markets. In looking ahead into 2006 the key objectives are to continue to roll out and consolidate this and other strategic initiatives, including: n the national coordination of barley and pulse breeding; n the National Variety Trials; n ongoing review of farming practices; and n delivery of new industry strategies and new technologies. Among the strategic developments planned in 2006 will be improved collaboration with international grains research centres, in particular the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria. These relationships are allowing the GRDC to update and improve its pre-breeding strategy. When all these initiatives and management plans are taken as a whole, they provide a very strong platform from which Australian grains R&D can continue to move forward and keep providing growers with new knowledge, new tools and more commercial options. Disclaimer: This publication has been prepared in good faith by the Grains Research and Development Corporation on the basis of the information available to us at the date of publication, without any independent verification. Neither the Corporation and its editors nor any contributor to this publication represent that the contents of this publication are accurate or complete; nor do we accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents, however they may arise. Readers who act on information from Ground Cover do so at their own risk. The Corporation and contributors to Ground Cover may identify products by proprietary or trade names to help readers identify particular types of products. We do not endorse or recommend the products of any manufacturer referred to. Other products may perform as well as or better than those specifically referred to. Copyright: © All material published in Ground Cover is copyright protected and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Grains Research & Development Corporation. RESEARCH ACTIVITY GRDC STAFF ON THE ROAD GRDC staff recently toured the E.H. Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and Charles Stur t University at Wagga Wagga as par t of a two-day familiarisation tour of research activ- ity in southern NSW. The road trip also included on-farm briefings in the Junee, Cootamundra and Dirnaseer areas, covering the progress of research trials and practical problems like mak- ing hay in a wet spring. It was also a face-to-face lesson in some of the practical issues that drive the need for R&D. "A par tially lodged barley crop (the result of unseasonal rains) will add about 30 per cent to har vest costs," explained Junee farmer Bernard Har t. "This underlines the need for varieties with better straw strength." Rising diesel prices also contributed to him lifting his budgeted har vest costs from $55 to $78 a hectare: "That means we're relying on the GRDC to come up with ways of saving us money." His GRDC visitors were shown where fence lines had been pulled out to accommodate more field-efficient machiner y, resulting in grazing management issues. "We're looking at a New Zealand system of vir tual fencing," he said. "The sheep wear an ear tag that's activated by a beam of light. We've just got to keep improving our efficiency." Mr Har t said the main issues he was facing as a grower were too many varieties coupled with confusing data about them, as well as emerging environmental pressures. His wishlist was more "core" on-farm research into weed control, conser vation systems, plant efficiencies, nutritional monitoring and soil-borne disease. APPOINTMENTS: GRDC DEPUTY ANNOUNCED Victorian graingrower Ross Johns, from Warracknabeal, has been appointed deputy chair of the GRDC board. This will be Mr Johns's second term following his reap- pointment for a fur ther three years from 1 October 2005. Mr Johns is also on the board of ABB Grain Ltd and has par ticipated in overseas marketing missions, including a visit to Russia in 2004 to study first-hand the state of the burgeoning grains industr y in Ukraine. Mr Johns has reiterated the GRDC's central message for the industr y to work collaboratively to maximise the return on research outputs. He says the increasingly complex and competitive international grains industr y is a challenge for ever yone involved in grains R&D. The full board comprises WA grower Terr y Enright (chair), Ross Johns, Nicole Birrell, Steve Marshall, Professor Timothy Reeves, Philip Young, Dr Donald Plowman, Russell Phillips (Government director) and Peter Reading (GRDC Managing Director). IMPROVED GROUND COVER Readers will notice this issue of Ground Cover has been produced on a brighter, stronger paper stock. This is in response to grower requests to make Ground Cover easier to archive and keep for future reference. The paper now used fur ther improves the value of Ground Cover as a lasting source of stimulating and useful ar ticles on grains industr y research and development and on industr y innovation. The new paper stock also enables Ground Cover to make better use of modern production technologies that fur ther help in the deliver y of a professional product. GRDC Sergio Moroni, from Charles Sturt University, updates GRDC staff on the university's grains research. PHOTO: VIC DOBOS ACTIVITY EDITORIAL OPINION BY PETER READING Managing Director, Grains Research and Development Corporation GRDC news and views GROUND COVER FEBRUARY -- MARCH 2006 2 Ross Johns (right) at the Vavilov Institute in St Petersburg last year.
Ground Cover 061 April-May 2006 - North
Ground Cover 059 December-January 2006 - North