Growers' GM experiences discussed

AGRONOMY TOUR: Farmers at the annual Landmark agronomy trial site tour last week.

AGRONOMY TOUR: Farmers at the annual Landmark agronomy trial site tour last week.

FARMERS from across Lower Eyre Peninsula gathered in Cummins for the annual Landmark agronomy trial site tour last week.

Guest speaker and agronomist Dan Taylor spoke to the large gathering about the Western Australian genetically modified canola experience.

Mr Taylor, who has worked through a wide range of rainfall zones and yield environments across the Western Australian wheat belt, is currently based at Kellerberrin and Cunderdin as an agronomist and partner at DKT Agencies.

Mr Taylor talked to the group about the opportunities and problems GM crops presented for farmers, as well as tackling multiple issues like high weed burdens with resistance and correcting subsoil acidity, while also trying to keep farms profitable.

"Helping farmers identify their biggest constraints to production and addressing them, often a number of them at once, is our biggest challenge," he said.

Also speaking at the event was Plant Science Consulting operations manager Dr Sam Kleemann.

Dr Kleemann spoke to the group about resistances, covering why some herbicides work better than others based on adjuvant quality and how to maximise ryegrass control particularly in paddocks with mixed chemical resistance.

The tour group inspected nearby annual ryegrass trials before heading to a pulse and canola agronomy trial site, where Grains Innovation Australia (GIA) pulse researcher Larn McMurray discussed new and novel pulse and lentil varieties.

Growers were especially interested in the planned release of several new herbicides as well as breeding developments in canola varieties.

The final stop on the tour was at a cereal trial site at Yeelanna where growers networked with industry specialists to look at timing of sowing trials as well as cereal disease management, new varieties and improving wheat establishment on heavy soils.

Landmark agronomist and trial manager Patrick Head said the bus tour was an opportunity for farmers to interact with researchers and agronomists and learn about varieties, rotations, disease management and issues which were directly applicable to their farming enterprise.

"All of our trials are relevant to farmers in our region," Mr Head said.

"We are always looking at ways we can support their farming businesses and being able to provide accurate information about the best varieties to sow, how to implement weed and disease control strategies, and tools to improve yields will help them to make more informed decisions in the future.

"This trial tour is also a way farmers can network with other farmers as well as scientists and product reps so they can ask questions and see the research being done first hand."