Cropping

Agriculture Victoria is urging croppers to test their soils for pests before sowing

By Rodney Woods

As the 2020 cropping season gets under way, Agriculture Victoria is advising farmers to arm themselves with as much information about their paddocks as they can to increase the chances of a productive and profitable year.

Agriculture Victoria’s grains industry biosecurity officer Jim Moran said recent rainfall had provided perfect conditions in most cropping districts.

He said to ensure successful sowing and emergence and to maintain excellent crop growth without pest, disease or weed pressures, grain growers should keenly monitor, and act on, the information available to them.

“Check what is going on and into paddocks,” Mr Moran said.

“Collect evidence and act on fact.”

To save time, money and effort, Mr Moran has advised growers to conduct soil or tissue testing before they sow.

“These tests will identify any nutrient deficiencies and will result in grain growers only applying what is needed to produce healthy crops,” Mr Moran said.

He said farmers should be aware of the origin, contents and quality of crop inputs to avoid importing pests, weeds and diseases from another region.

If farmers are backloading fertilisers and chemicals from the ports, it’s important to conduct proper hygiene protocols as per the Grain Trade Australia’s Transport Code of Practice.

“They should check product labels to confirm the source, quality and the potential presence of other toxic substances or contaminants,” Mr Moran said.

“This will ensure that any soil fertilisers, ameliorants, conditioners, compost or other chemicals are what they say they are.”

Mr Moran said farmers should survey their paddocks regularly.

“If they notice anything unusual, they should contact their agronomist and have samples tested by the CROPSAFE laboratory at Agriculture Victoria in Horsham,” he said.

To request a sampling kit, email: croppathology.horsham@agriculture.vic.gov.au

These tests will not only help to rule out the presence of exotic pests and diseases but will also enable a rapid response to eradicate any incursions.

For more information, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.