Cropping

Finley and Kerang research centres to help farmers with water efficiency

By Rodney Woods

New research aimed at boosting grain productivity under irrigation will help farmers in northern Victoria and southern NSW get the most out of their water and optimise profitability.

Two research centres established in Kerang and Finley are part of the project, that includes 66 replicated field trials per year for the next three years.

“This exciting project funded by GRDC is a collaboration between the Irrigated Cropping Council and FAR Australia focusing on improving soil management and agronomic practices to optimise yield and profitability of grain crops grown under irrigation,” Irrigated Cropping Council executive officer Charlie Aves said.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made the logistics more difficult this autumn, FAR Australia is excited to have established the new irrigated research centres.

“It’s the first time FAR Australia and Irrigated Cropping Council have joined forces to collaborate on a major research project and we can already see the synergies in terms of project team experience and geographic coverage,” FAR Australia managing director Nick Poole said.

The trial's aim is to evaluate crop response to agronomic practices across a range of irrigated systems and quantify yield potential in different environments throughout the Murrumbidgee and Murray Valleys of southern NSW, the Murray Valley of northern Victoria, south-east South Australia, South Australian/Victorian Mallee and Tasmania.

“With the project covering six different crops (maize, canola, faba beans, chickpeas, Durum wheat and barley), the major agronomic inputs and soil amelioration (in collaboration with NSW DPI) we are confident that the research will help us establish new productivity and profitability benchmarks in irrigated grains,” Mr Poole said.

This project is unique in that it also provides an opportunity for farmers to link directly with research with the formation of local farmer-driven discussion groups.

The groups meet four times a year to discuss the agronomy and soil trials in the region and the implications of the research results at a local level.

Expressions of interest to join the groups are still open.

For more information about these trials or to join a discussion group, go to: www.irrigatedcroppingcouncil.com.au or contact Charlotte Aves by email on: Charlie.aves@irrigatedcroppingcouncil.com.au or phone 0416 400 979