This five-year project, that commenced in 2016, is designed to:
- Develop the skills of recent entrants to the grains industry while they undertake regionally-based research, development and extension activities
- Support, develop, and/or deliver locally relevant research,development and extension that address priority grain production issues.
- Address difficulties with delivery of on-ground activities from large nationwide projects.
The project has established teams consisting of two regional agronomists within each of the five Western Australian port zones of Kwinana West, Geraldton, Kwinana East, Albany and Esperance.
The teams work closely with a range of industry support networks such as the GRDC Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSN), grower groups, agribusiness and other research providers to assist in the identification, prioritisation and addressing of the key industry challenges in their regions.
2020 focus for project activities
In 2020, the project team is undertaking a range of research, development and extension activities addressing priority issues identified through consultation with growers, researchers and agribusiness to deliver value to growers in each port zone. Various activities involve regional value-adding to other larger research and extension projects with grower groups and DPIRD. Field-based and case study activities include continued monitoring of a series of grower-managed focus paddocks, established in 2016, to investigate priority crop protection and crop production issues, as well as trials and demonstrations (see table below).
|Port zone||Focus issue for activities|
|Albany||Monitoring small conical snails activity; break crops for managing root lesion nematodes (RLN); harvest weed seed control (HWSC) of radish; reefinator evaluation; legumes in the farming system; potential yield of canola in high rainfall|
Seasonal snail movement; high value pulses in rotational cropping systems trial; monitoring deep ripping at depth; nitrogen management for wheat protein in changing farming systems; faba bean herbicide options
|Kwinana East||Cost-effectiveness of local lime sources; soil-borne disease management; subsoil constraints management; matricaria in pasture; crop sequencing post renovation;|
|Geraldton||Long term integrated weed management; RLN after pasture|
Crop protection-specific activities
Existing crop protection threat alert systems continue to be identified and reviewed to assist development of crop protection threat maps.
Specific crop protection activities the regional agronomists have conducted include:
- Collecting data and reporting incidence of crop protection threats within the port zones, collaborating with existing pests and disease projects to increase regional distribution of submitted samples. Where gaps in knowledge are identified the team conducts surveillance activities to increase understanding of incidence and impact of crop protection issues
- 2018 Oat disease survey of Kwinana West port zone. Information gathered complemented and supported work undertaken by the National Hay Agonomy project's pathology surveillance program in 2018.
- 2017 Summer weed time of removal trials at Gairdner, Moorine Rock and Beacon, Neridup and Jerramungup. All sites that went to harvest showed increased yields where weeds were removed earlier, although the yield advantage was only significant at Moorine Rock in 2017. For an overview of all the trials refer to 2017 Summer weed time of removal trials.
- 2017 Eastern wheatbelt root disease survey. Results are summarised in the 2018 GRDC Research Updates paper - Characterising soil borne disease risk in the eastern wheat belt of Western Australia and national significance of major diseases.
- 2017-18 Decision support tools review. A range of crop protection decision support tools available to Australian crop producers and industry were identified and reviewed by the project team. Through surveys of growers and consultants, the usefulness of these tools through the growing season was evaluated and gaps and opportunities identified to assist in informing future investment into crop protection decision support tools. protection decision support tools.
Publications from RRA activities
The project has also been involved in a wide range of other regional priority-aligned project activities in collaboration with grower groups and/or other research projects. Selected activities and the publications resulting from these activities are listed below.
Snails management in Albany and Esperance
- Image analysis of snail density to generate bait prescription maps - refer to 2018 GRDC Research Updates: Image analysis of slugs and snails in broadacre agriculture
- Chemical control of snails – refer to page 11, Stirling to Coast Farmers' Snail Management Guide for WA Farmers
- Snail repellence - refer to Will anything repel conical snails?
- Time snail baiting to coincide with maximum snail movement and before snails lay eggs
Managing soil-borne pests and diseases
- Soil-borne disease risk in the eastern wheatbelt - refer to 2018 GRDC Research Updates: Characterising soil-borne disease risk in the eastern wheatbelt and national significance of major diseases
- Can a change in nitrogen reduce plant parasitic nematodes (Pratylenchus quasitereoides) in Western Australian wheat crops? Refer to page 11, Proceedings 10th Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium, 2018
- Crown rot severity and management . Refer to 2019 Grains Research Updates paper: The effect of variety and regional nutrition strategies on crown rot severity in Merredin
- Management of root lesion nematodes (RLN) and Rhizoctonia solani with break crops. Refer to 2019 GRDC Research Updates: Profitable break crop options for management of root lesion nematodes (RLN) and Rhizoctonia solani
- Profitable break crops in rotation with cereals (wheat) for growers with RLN and R. solani in the same paddock. Refer to 2020 GRDC Research Updates:"Give me a break!” – Options for paddocks infested with both root lesion nematodes and Rhizoctonia solani AG8
- Summer weeds Summer weed time of removal trials 2017
- Integrated Weed Management of ryegrass – grower focus paddocks. Refer to Harvest weed seed control shows continued success in controlling resistant weeds
Managing disease in cereals and canola
- Spraying fungicide for spot type net blotch (STNB) Refer to Was there an economic return from fungicide application for management of spot type net blotch in Muntadgin in 2017?
- A multifaceted approach to sclerotinia management in season - petal testing, apps, remote sclerote monitoring for apothecia and spray trials. Refer to 2019 GRDC Grains Research Updates: Validating the SclerotiniaCM App For Managing Sclerotinia In Canola
- Yield benefits and economics of crushing sheet laterite soils. Refer to 2019 GRDC Grains Research Updates: Yield benefits and economics of crushing sheet laterite soils
- Deep ripping to below the depth of compaction is required for the greatest benefit on south coast deep white sands. Refer to Deep ripping deep white sands on the DPIRD website
Break crops and pastures
- Pastures in the cropping system. Refer to 2019 GRDC Grains Research Updates: Growing wheat and barley after serradella, does extra nitrogen help?
- Provided assistance to GRDC frost project DAW00227 in the evaluation of frost sensitivity of barley, wheat and oat varieties in relation to sowing date. Refer to 2017 GRDC Research Updates: Myth busting the frost tolerance of oats
Local valication of wheat varieties
- Yardstick trial - refer to 2018 GRDC Research Updates: A grower group’s solution to reducing wheat and barley selection risk for their low rainfall farming system
- Trial protocols - The project has compiled useful protocol documents to aid with planning and implementing research trials for people new to agricultural research. Contact Megan Abrahams if you would like a copy.