Immediate seasonal constraints such as frost and moisture-stressed crops, as well as ongoing challenges around sub-soil acidity and capacity within the grains industry, were among growers’ issues raised with the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Southern Region Panel during its recent annual spring tour.
The need for a profitable and reliable legume for north-east Victorian farming systems, limitations to optimising yields in irrigated crops, weed, stubble and nutrient management, waterlogging in the high rainfall zone and opportunities for improved canola production were other issues raised by growers during the tour through north-central, north-east and south-west Victoria.
Panel members and GRDC staff met with growers, researchers, advisers, farming systems groups, agribusiness and other grains industry specialists during their visits to growers’ properties, research facilities and education institutions, trial sites and downstream enterprises.
Southern Region Panel chair John Bennett said the tour provided panel members and GRDC staff with a unique and valuable opportunity to discuss growers’ priority issues at the coalface.
‘‘Being in paddocks and seeing first-hand the impact of seasonal conditions and longer-term challenges confronting our growers gives us an intimate understanding of those issues, within a local context, to assist in informing discussions and decisions around appropriate GRDC investments in research, development and extension,’’ Mr Bennett said.
‘‘The tour exposed panel members and staff to this year’s variable seasonal conditions throughout the southern region — while conditions in south-west Victoria have been largely favourable, growers in the north-east have been dealing with well below average rainfall and frost.
‘‘Growers have been assessing their options for stressed crops and we saw many crops being cut for hay and silage.’’