Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 047 November-December 2003 - North
Ruling brings GM canola release closer Approval for the commercial release of Monsanto's Roundup Ready® canola has moved closer with the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator ruling that Roundup Ready canola is as safe to human health, and the environment, as non-GM canola. Roundup Ready® canola has been modified to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate, which can then be used to control weeds while the crop is growing. However, the Gene Technology Regulator, Dr Sue Meek, says the risk assessment and risk management plan recognises the potential for development of herbicide-resistant weeds if glyphosate is used inappropriately. The use of glyphosate on Roundup Ready® canola is expected to require approval by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority . For more information: www.ogtr.gov.au Page 21: glyphosate workshop reports $25m in new research The GRDC plans to invest $25 million in new research in 2004-05, including: up to $720,000 a year -- $300,000 each for the western and northern regions and $120,000 for the southern region -- for sustainable weed management practices such as rotations, application technology, herbicide mixtures and non-chemical control options; up to $500,000 a year for three years to develop and deliver information packages to improve the confidence of growers in the western and southern regions in the production and market reliability of pulse crops; research into opportunities to improve crop yield and quality in high rainfall zones. Page 2: investment plan 2004--05 Contamination program A comprehensive program has been started to improve the detection of soil contamination in grain as a determined step towards eliminating the problem and maintaining Australia's reputation for high quality grain exports. A top-level industry/government committee has developed a new strategy that includes: statistical-based sampling and testing by bulk handlers; awareness training of grain samplers and assessors to ensure soil/minerals standards are understood and enforced; training workshops for AQIS inspectors, bulk handling receival staff and marketers to ensure consistency; marketers "filling information gaps" on the tolerances that exist in different markets. Expo wins safety award The Ouyen Farm Safety Expo, a practical on-farm demonstration of ways to make farms safer for children, is joint winner of the 2003 National Safety Council of Australia/Telstra National Safety Awards of Excellence in the farm safety category. The expo, started by farming women in Victoria's north-west three years ago, shared the award with the Urrbrae Agricultural High School is South Australia. The expo is now an annual event held on working farms, using activity-based lessons and covering potential hazards such as water, firearms, chemicals, machinery and silos. It is supported by the GRDC through 'Partners In Grain'. Still growing Dundale or ParafieldA? If you are, there's good news because KaspaA, the latest release from the Australian Coordinated Field Pea Improvement Program, is making a big impression in the field pea world. KaspaA is a high yielding Dun-type field pea with an exciting range of grower-friendly features. As well as high yield, the KaspaA package also comes with excellent resistance to pod shattering, good lodging resistance and improved resistance to downy mildew and black spot. While still a 'Dun'-type pea, KaspaA has medium-sized round, reddish-brown seed. It has low 'hard' seed compared to other dun peas. Evan Moll and family have been growing peas on their property, 'Elderslie', 25 kilometres north of Albury "for at least 25 years". "We are basically seed growers and yes, you name it, we have grown them all," says Mr Moll. For Mr Moll, the big change came with ExcellA and SnowpeakA. "We used to keep an old header just for picking up the field peas -- plus the rocks and sticks -- but the new upright varieties have changed all that. Now we direct harvest with no trouble at all." Harvestability is where Mr Moll sees the big advantage for KaspaA. "I can get a higher price for Excell, and I like MuktaA, but because KaspaA is erect and the pods don't shatter either, it gives us great flexibility at harvest time." The Molls' 2001 KaspaA crop yielded 3.7t/ ha without the need for pre-harvest desiccation and 2t/ha in the difficult 2002 season. Mr Moll sees a big future for peas in the farming systems of the high rainfall south-western slopes. "There's been a lot of disappointment around here with canola and even lupins, but these new peas may just fit the bill," says Mr Moll. "This is 27-inch (680mm) rainfall country and by sowing in late June we get excellent weed control and can still get the yield." On the subject of weeds, Mr Moll ranks KaspaA as "no problem" when it comes to volunteer field peas in a following crop. "We had peas coming up for three years with the older Dun varieties, but with KaspaA no shattering means less seed on the ground, and any we do lose germinates on the first rain anyway". KaspaA is about five days later flowering than Dundale or ParafieldA, but appears to fill its seeds quickly and to mature at much the same time as these varieties. It is best suited to the prime field pea growing areas of south- eastern Australia with annual rainfall between 400-500mm. According to Dr Eric Armstrong, of NSW Agriculture's Agricultural Research Institute at Wagga Wagga, KaspaA is just one of the varieties that are changing grower attitudes to field peas. "In southern NSW Excell and SnowpeakA were the first truly erect, downy mildew resistant varieties; now KaspaA adds shattering resistance as well," he says. And it is important, too, as Dr Armstrong explains: "Ear muffs and body armour used to be obligatory in a field pea paddock on a hot day, and with the new erect varieties the pods are even more exposed to sun and wind -- and potentially at more risk of shattering. "KaspaA is the first truly non-shattering variety where the pods do not split, even when fully mature." "Good to harvest and very good on shattering -- and that means what we grow ends up in the bin," is the view of Andrew Weidemann, of 'Sunnydale', five kilometres east of Rupanyup in Victoria's Wimmera district. Mr Weidemann, wife Julie and brother Rodney Weidemann farm 1700 hectares of mainly black, self-mulching clay soils cropping 85 percent to wheat, barley, canola and a range of pulse crops. This year will be the Weidemanns' third with KaspaA. Their first (2001) Kaspa seed crop yielded 3.6t/ha, only to be followed by 0.6t/ha in 2002 due to drought and frost damage. This year their 90ha of KaspaA is looking good -- perhaps even as good as the 2001 crop. For harvesting his field peas, Mr Weidemann runs a John Deere 9650 with a flexible cutter bar instead of crop lifters, and has modified the header by adding a vertical coulter to the flexible front. "Even though it's upright, KaspaA forms a dense mat and the coulter helps feed the crop into the machine," says Mr Weidemann. Pulses form an integral part of the rotation on 'Sunnydale'. "By growing them all, we can spread out the rotation and minimise disease buildup," says Mr Weidemann. "But best of all, the peas give us extra weed control options with the likes of Spinnaker® and Brodal®/MCPA mixes for mustards and other brassica weeds." "Not the best year for a seed producer" was the way Richard Verner, a specialist seed grower at Korunye in South Australia's Lower North, summed up 2002. But KaspaA (1.6t/ha) was seven percent in front of his Parafield, even though the dry year perhaps should have favoured the earlier flowering variety. Mr Verner is now keen to evaluate KaspaA in a "better" year. "We have grown a lot of peas, and as a conventional type ParafieldA has been exceptional for us. Good yield (3.6t/ha in 2001) and plenty of straw for the hay producers, but KaspaA's yield and harvestability may give it the edge -- we like its potential." Mr Verner's observations in 2002 had KaspaA in full flower 10 days later than ParafieldA, but with similar final pod maturity. "That's pretty important here because ParafieldA's maturity has been ideal for spray topping and growers want to keep that weed control option," Mr Verner says. In summary, KaspaA is a user-friendly variety that should stand out from the crowd. KaspaA is protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act, 1994, and a levy of $2.20 per tonne is payable on all grain except that retained for a grower's own use. Proceeds of the levy are shared by the breeder, AWB Seeds and the GRDC and are substantially returned to growers through re- investment in research. Seed of KaspaA is available through AWB Seeds. Page 13: field pea workshop RESEARCH CODE DAV455, program 2 For more information: Eric Armstrong: Ph 02 6938 1999 Evan Moll: Ph 02 6026 0580 Richard Verner: Ph 08 8520 2182 Andrew Weidemann: Ph 03 5385 5089 NEWS / FEATURE 8 NOVEMBER 2003 CROP TEST l By MIKE PERRY THE AUSTRALIAN COORDINATED FIELD PEA IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM 'KaspaA is the first truly non-shattering variety where the pods do not split, even when fully mature.' KaspaA finds new friends for the field pea NEWS IN BRIEF KaspaA: "What we grow ends up in the bin," says Andrew Weidemann of Rupanyup.
Ground Cover 048 February-March 2004 - North