With every second year, on average, delivering frosts significant enough to wipe out tens of millions of dollars of Western Australian crops, it is no surprise that the state’s grain growers place frost management at the top of their research, development and extension priority list.
The occurrence and severity of frost is spatially variable with the frost ‘window’ widening and the number of frost incidence increasing. The average loss from frost is conservatively estimated as $400M per annum. The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s National Frost Initiative coordinates a $4M per annum program of genetic, environmental and management approaches to deliver solutions for the grains industry. The department coordinates the management node of this initiative. The focus is on cereals, particularly wheat, as this is the dominant winter crop in all regions and thus underpins the sustainability of farm enterprise and farming systems.