Boosting Grains Research and Development - Flagship Projects

Page last updated: Monday, 21 August 2017 - 11:15am

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A suite of 11 new science projects worth $5.2 million, led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), will lift Western Australia’s grains research and development and industry profitability.

The projects will build on extensive work by the department and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The wide-ranging projects are tailored to address grains production issues specific to WA and to fine tune regional cropping systems.

Building crop protection and production agronomy R&D capacity in regional WA

The WA grains industry has identified the need to develop regionally-based crop production and crop protection capability in WA with the skills to provide a wide range of advice to growers, grower groups and advisors.

Similarly, industry has recognised the difficulties with facilitating the delivery of on ground activities from large nationwide projects due to a range of reasons.

This project will recruit and develop critical research capacity within DPIRD to increase the level of R&D capability and coordination within each of the five port zones in the Western region.

Regionally based crop production and protection capability will be developed in teams working within each of the five port zones.

Each team will consist of a crop production agronomist (CPA) and a crop protection generalist (CPG) supported by technical staff.

They will become resources for identifying challenges and opportunities for improving production agronomy and crop protection.

They will become the go-to people for information across a range of disciplines within each port zone.

They will be responsible for assisting in the design of regional development and extension responses to these challenges and providing focussed advice for growers, grower groups and consultants wanting to access information and expertise about crop production and crop protection matters.

These teams will work closely with a range of industry support networks such as the Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSN), grower groups, agribusiness and other research providers to assist in the identification and prioritisation of the key industry challenges in their regions.

For more information contact Vanessa Stewart on +61 (0)8 9081 3149.

Improving the efficiency of slug and snail controls

Innovative techniques are needed to map the distribution of slugs in paddocks before they cause significant crop damage.

This project will produce a system that will create maps of snail and slug infestations using automated mapping techniques to better target bait applications in paddocks.

Improved knowledge of the distribution of the slugs and snails would allow targeted baiting and reduce control costs by approximately 10-90% depending on the patchiness of infestation.

For more information contact Svetlana Micic on +61 (0)8 9892 8591.

Tolerance and resistance of oats to crown rot in WA

Crown rot is wide spread across WA and inoculum has been increasing since 2010. Expression of the disease occurs most commonly in the low to medium rainfall areas, a region where oats have not been grown traditionally and no information is available on crown rot impacts on yield in this area.

This project will identify oat varieties that have minimal yield loss to crown rot (tolerance) and least inoculum build-up (resistance) ultimately reducing costs and losses for WA growers in the grainbelt; and identify oat varieties with improved tolerance and increased resistance to crown rot used by oat breeders to improve future releases of oat varieties for the benefit of the Australian grain industry.

For more information contact Daniel Huberli on +61 (0)8 9368 3836.

Seed and fertiliser granule coating technology for use in cropping systems

There is an opportunity to develop coating technologies to increase the efficiency of agricultural inputs by placing these inputs directly around the seeds or fertiliser granules.

The aim of this project is to develop seed and fertiliser coating techniques to: (a) increase efficiency of surfactant, high water absorbing polymer and elemental S for overcoming the problem of water repellent soils and S deficiency in canola; (b) examine if coating of surfactant and water absorbing polymer onto the seeds to increase crop establishment and seedling vigour in a climate which has become drier and more variable on soils which are becoming more water repellent.

The proposed seed coating will complement work been undertaken in GRDC project DAW00244.

For more information contact Geoff Anderson on +61 (0)8 9690 2104.

New methods to allow early sowing of field peas in WA farming systems

Many growers find it critical to sow crops as early as possible to avoid a possible dry finish in spring and reduced yield, however, this is not usually considered a plausible option with field pea.

There are major reasons that deter growers from sowing early which include the increased chance of failed nodulation, exposure to inoculum of black spot (Mycosphaerella pinodes, Phoma medicaginis, Ascochyta pisi), root rots (rhizoctonia) and lack of weed control.

This project proposes to explore ways that enable sowing field peas earlier in the growing season.

As there is a very wide area of collaborative research required, studies in this project will mainly focus on the pea-rhizobia symbioses including measurements of nodulation and nitrogen (N) fixation and yield.

For more information contact Ron Yates on +61 (0)8 9368 3665.

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