Farmers visit Lower Eyre research sites

SPRING FIELD WALK: Nick Poole from Foundation for Arable Research Australia.

SPRING FIELD WALK: Nick Poole from Foundation for Arable Research Australia.

The weather held off for the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA) Spring Field Walk on Thursday, September 5.

Seventy farmers and agribusiness representatives spent the day visiting trial sites and demonstration sites in the Ungarra, Yeelanna and Cummins area.

The day started at the Cummins Bowling Club with a presentation by Foundation for Arable Research Australia managing director Nick Poole on hyper yielding cereals and the ingredients for a high yielding cereal crop.

Mr Poole outlined the four cultivar characteristics essential for mid April sowing.

Regional Agricultural Landcare facilitator Megan Low said the presentation not only gave participants background on similar projects in other areas of southern Australia but also provided information to Lower EP farmers on varieties that have a higher yield potential for their area.

At Ungarra Ben Pugsley outlined the Dryland Legume Pasture Systems project he has on his property, which includes vetch varieties, medics and serradella.

The project has paddock-scale farmer trials that have been developed in collaboration with grower groups at four sites on the Eyre Peninsula and will evaluate the performance of new legume options.

South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) princpal vetch breeder Stuart Nagel spoke about the versatility of vetch, especially in the terms of its potential end uses, including grain, hay/silage, pasture or green/brown manure.

On the last stop before lunch Mr Poole spoke on fungicide management, disease control and crop management.

He said non-chemical control measures - rotations, cultivar resistance, later sowing, and other aspects of cultural control (grazing or stubble management) - could complement fungicides.

Jason Brand from Agriculture Victoria.

Jason Brand from Agriculture Victoria.

The afternoon was spent visiting the beans trials at Yeelanna where Amy Gutsche from SARDI and Agriculture Victoria senior researcher Jason Brand shared their knowledge on how to best grow and manage pulse crops.

The last stop of the day saw Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Rural Solutions SA soil and land management consultant Brett Masters outline the Sandy Soils Impact Project.

The GRDC-funded project assists grain growers and advisers cost effectively identify and overcome the primary constraints to poor crop water-use on sandy soils in the low-medium rainfall zone of south-eastern Australia. LEADA has two sites on lower EP.

Ms Low said the day provided an opportunity to farmers to see research sites first hand and talk to leading researchers from across Australia.

"It's also great to have varied speakers on topics that are relevant to local farmers".