Cropping in the spotlight

By Country News on August 30, 2017
  • Cropping in the spotlight

    Curyo farmer Jim Rickard is co-hosting this years BCG Main Field Research site.

Farmers, agronomists and industry are invited to the Birchip Cropping Group’s 2017 Main Field Day on September 13.

Visitors to BCG’s main research site can inspect more than 25 trials spread across two paddocks, with Craig Rickard’s lentil stubble paddock and Jim Rickard’s fallow paddock on show.

BCG chief executive officer Chris Sounness said the field day would feature industry experts who will share their knowledge with farmers.

‘‘(The experts will discuss) a range of production challenges and opportunities that will aim to improve the profitability of their crops,’’ Mr Sounness said.

‘‘This event is designed to help growers and consultants learn about new agronomic strategies to maximise crop yield and farm profitability.’’

BCG senior research officer Kelly Angel and Think Agri consultant Kate Burke will discuss how to identify frost damage and management strategies to reduce frost risk.

Ms Angel said there were incidents of frost causing damage in 2016, but 2017’s seasonal conditions meant there had been more cloud-less nights.

‘‘I heard stories in 2016 of headers entering paddocks, harvesting a strip, and moving on to better paddocks — they didn’t realise the relatively mild October event had caused so much damage,’’ she said.

‘‘Paddocks with high and low ground ranged from 5tonnes per hectare to no grain yield.’’

Research suggests frost has become one of the most significant risks to broadacre grain production.

Ms Angel said there were several factors that have made modern cropping systems more prone to frost, including earlier sowing dates and the uptake of mid-season varieties more likely to flower during the most frost-prone months if sown in early windows.

‘‘Monitoring crops after a frost, particularly from late booting until late grain fill when they are most susceptible, will ensure any damage is identified early and management decisions can be made accordingly,’’ she said.

The range of trials presented at the field day will cover challenges including weed management, disease pressure, time of sowing, variety choice and break crop management.

‘‘We are lucky enough to have some great experts travelling to be at the event, with Dr Kelly Turkington from Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, and agricultural economist James Hagan from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,’’ Mr Sounness said.

Dr Turkington will discuss his knowledge of cereal plant pathology and agronomy, as well as his experience in managing Canadian grain farming systems.

Mr Hagan will discuss the economics, system changes and management of controlled traffic in the low rainfall zone as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded Application of Controlled Traffic Farming in the Low Rainfall Zone project.

■BCG’s 2017 Main Field Day will be held at the corner of Sunraysia Hwy and Grogan Rd, Curyo (25km north-west of Birchip) on Wednesday, September 13 from 9am.

Entry is free for BCG members and $50 for non-members, with breakfast and lunch available to purchase on-site.

■For more details, phone BCG on 5492 2787 or visit:

By Country News on August 30, 2017

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