NORTHERN New South Wales grain growers took time out from winter crop activities recently to deliver feedback on production opportunities and challenges directly to their research and development decision-makers.
Grains Research and Development Corporation northern panel chair James Clark led the delegation, which included panel members from in and around Toowoomba, and said listening to growers and gaining an on-the-ground perspective made the annual tour a vital part of the corporation's commitments.
"There are many ways (the corporation) consults with growers and researchers but standing in their crops discussing local constraints to yield and productivity, and priorities for (the corporation's) funding, gives the panel a very clear picture of what needs to be tackled," he said.
"The investment effort is about identifying and driving production gains."
Mr Clark said key issues for northern growers included ongoing problem weed and disease management challenges, nutrient management, changes to grain storage and transport infrastructure due to mining, and industry-wide issues including herbicide resistance.
"The winter cereals, canola and pulse crops we've seen across northern NSW are looking good but it has been a relatively dry winter with plenty of frost events so many growers will be looking for rain as the crops mature," Mr Clark said.
"Growers are also gearing up for summer planting of crops, including sunflowers and sorghum, and while planting rains are needed, good moisture profiles will stand these crops in good stead."
This year's spring tour took panel members on-farm and to research trials and facilities at Bellata, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Quirindi, Tamworth and Armidale.
They included the corporation's executive manager research programs Steve Thomas, former grower and Hunter Valley agribusiness operator, James Clark, Toowoomba-based wheat breeder John Sheppard, Dalby grower Rob Taylor, Felton grower and agronomist Vicki Green and Toowoomba-based researcher Professor Mark Sutherland.
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