News

Jun 21

2017's mixed bag for canola disease

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Season 2017 is producing mixed fortunes in terms of canola diseases for growers in the southern cropping region.
While the risk of blackleg disease has reduced with the lack of consistent rainfall in many parts of the region, there has been an increased incidence of canola white leaf spot.
Growers of canola are therefore being advised to take a considered approach to disease management this year.
Oilseeds disease expert Dr Steve Marcroft, who undertakes research through a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment, says seasonal conditions have so far not been conducive to the severe development of the blackleg fungus.
“Blackleg likes continual wet conditions for spore release and germination, which is why blackleg severity on seedlings was so high in 2016,” says Dr Marcroft, of Marcroft Grains Pathology.
“In contrast, a large area of southern Australia has received rainfall in only a couple of major rain events, and conditions have remained dry between these events. Consequently, blackleg lesions are only starting to occur now.”
Dr Marcroft advises that if crops are already past the vulnerable seeding stage (1-4 leaf) and have no or few lesions, these crops most likely will not develop severe crown canker and therefore may not benefit from a foliar fungicide application.
“However, if a crop was sown later, has a moderately susceptible (MS) or lower blackleg rating and is currently still in the vulnerable seedling stage, it may develop severe crown canker and therefore benefit from a foliar fungicide application,” Dr Marcroft says.
“Growers should monitor crops for blackleg lesions on the first four leaves, estimate the potential crop yield and decide if it economical to protect the crop.
“Foliar fungicide has the highest efficacy against blackleg crown canker if applied at the 4-6 leaf stage, but is still very effective up to the 8-9 leaf stage.
“If growers are unsure about the blackleg severity on their crop and the potential yield, they can wait until the 8-9 leaf growth stage and then make a disease management decision.”
Meanwhile, Dr Marcroft says an increased incidence of canola white leaf spot has occurred in many parts of southern Australia this season.
“The disease is distributed worldwide, but in Australia it is not usually severe enough to cause yield loss. However, if environmental conditions are favourable, it can result in significant defoliation, causing reduced plant vigour and subsequent yield loss.
“White leaf spot is not usually severe enough to warrant fungicide control.”
White leaf spot normally only occurs on oldest leaves near the soil surface. Occasionally it is observed moving up the canopy, infecting younger leaves and reducing the leaf area significantly – this is when yield loss may occur. It is not currently well understood why it can occasionally become more severe in individual regions and seasons.
Nutrient-deficient canola crops can be more severely affected by the disease.
The symptoms of white leaf spot are leaf and stem lesions that are greyish white to light brown. Leaf lesions can be up to one centimetre in diameter and coalesce to form large irregular-shaped lesions.
Mature lesions often have a brown margin. White leaf spot lesions do not contain pycnidia (black dots) which are characteristic of blackleg.
Beyond this growing season, Dr Marcroft encourages an integrated approach to managing white leaf spot. This involves controlling cruciferous weeds and volunteer canola, employing strategic crop rotations and reducing infection from wind-borne spores by not sowing near the previous year’s canola stubble (both the white leaf spot and blackleg fungus survive on canola stubble).
The disease is not usually seed-borne, but it can spread by infected seeds or infected debris with the seed.
Comprehensive information on management of white leaf spot, blackleg and other canola diseases can be found in the GRDC’s Diseases of Canola and Their Management: The Back Pocket Guide, which can be viewed and downloaded via https://grdc.com.au/GRDC-BPG-CanolaDiseases.
Further information specific to blackleg disease can be found in the GRDC’s Blackleg Management Guide, https://grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-BlacklegManagementGuide.


Image S Marcroft

Jun 21

Eradicating lupin anthracnose

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NSW Lupin anthracnose update
Rachel Taylor-Hukins, grains biosecurity officer, NSW DPI


In October 2016 lupin anthracnose was detected for the first time in commercial crops in NSW in the eastern Riverina region. Natural hosts of lupin anthracnose are not established in NSW and as the infected crops were relatively isolated, successful eradication of the disease was considered possible and an eradication program is now in place.
The lupin anthracnose biosecurity zone (LABZ), encompasses the Local Government Areas in entirety of Cootamundra/Gundagai, Junee and Coolamon and has special conditions including restrictions on the growing and sale of certain lupins within the zone. Within the LABZ the following conditions apply:

1. Ornamental lupins must not be grown across the zone for two years;
2. Weed (volunteer) lupins must be controlled (destroyed) across the zone for two years;
3. Lupin crops cannot be grown on a property with a boundary within 1 km of a known infected property for two years (all properties affected by this rule have been notified by NSW DPI);
4. Lupin seed present on a property with a boundary within 1 km of the boundary of an infected property must not be planted or kept for planting (all properties affected by this rule have been notified by NSW DPI).

There are no restrictions on growing lupins outside of the lupin anthracnose biosecurity zone.
Lupin anthracnose threatens the viability and future of NSW’s lupin industry. Growers and agronomists are strongly encouraged to be vigilant this season, familiarising themselves with symptoms and inspecting crops at least once every 6 weeks. Although symptoms more commonly appear around flowering, seedling infections can still occur.
The most obvious symptom is bending and twisting of stems at the site of a lesion (forming a shepherds crook) which is particularly noticeable when the crop is flowering. Oval shaped lesions on stems contain a beige pink spore mass with an oozy appearance. If infection occurs early in the season lesions can be found on seedlings.
A five point management plan is recommended for all lupin producers in NSW to prevent establishment and spread of the disease.
1. Treat seed for sowing with a fungicide seed treatment containing thiram
2. Separate this year’s lupin crop away from last year’s lupin stubble
3. Control volunteer lupins on your property
4. Control machinery and people movement into and out of lupin crops
5. Apply a foliar fungicide at 6-8 weeks post emergence (with a grass herbicide if suitable) using fungicides containing mancozeb, chlorothalonil or azoxystrobin, and a follow up at pre-canopy closure.

Reporting and Sampling
Lupin anthracnose is a notifiable disease in NSW, and any suspected infected crops must be reported. 
Call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email clear photos with a brief explanation and contact details to: biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Alternatively samples can be sent by following these instructions:
• Sample plants that show unusual symptoms
• Wrap the plants in damp (not wet) paper towel and seal in both a plastic container and ziplock bag, or two ziplock bags

• Send the sample by express post early in the week. A cold pack is not needed
Send samples to:
Dr Kurt Lindbeck
NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute,
Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
Phone: 02 6938 1608

Anyone involved in the production of lupins in NSW, including (but not limited to) growers, agronomists and contractors, have a responsibility under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to put in place measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise biosecurity risks, including the obligation to report unusual and notifiable pests and diseases.

For more information on lupin anthracnose:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/recent-pest-arrivals/lupin-anthracnose
For more information on the Biosecurity Act 2015:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/overview/biosecurity-legislation

Image by Kurt Lindebeck, NSW Department of Primary Industries

Jun 13

Winter Bus Tour heads interstate

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The FarmLink Winter Bus Tour is back with a bang this year, and we're heading interstate!
There've been a lot of people commenting they really valued the bus trips which, in past years visited regions further afield to learn about different strategies for managing similar issues, innovations and ideas.
So, we're off to Victoria on August 7, visiting Birchip, Manangatang and Swan Hill regions - learning about Profitable Pulse Production, Alternative Harvest Weed Seed Management, Soil Moisture Management and Successful Integration of Cropping and Livestock - before returning home on August 9. Cost is $500 per person, including accommodation, meals and transport. If you'd like a seat on the bus, please email us on farmlink@farmlink.com.au or give us a call on (02) 6980 1333.

May 11

Guest speaker for Annual Dinner

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, May 11, 2017

One of the driving forces behind a fully integrated oilseed crushing, refining and packaging operation located at Manildra in the central west of New South Wales will share his farming, business and life experiences with guests at the FarmLink Annual Dinner on Friday, July 28.
Peter Mac Smith of MSM Milling left school in 1980 and returned to the family farm at Cudal which had been in the family since the 1850s.
Peter started out at Hawkesbury Ag College in 1983, but never finished, and in 1984 joined his brother to purchase their uncle’s farm. Peter admits their timing was horrendous as the US and the EU started a trade war which saw wheat prices drop below $100 tonne, and interest rates soar to 17-18%.
Wanting to find a way to value add to his farm production, Peter and his brother looked into canola crushing.
“We managed to claw our way through that period and in 1992 we started Australian Country Canola which over the last 25 years has grown from 300 tonnes in year 1 to over 100,000 tonnes now, we export oil, meal and stockfeeds to over 10 countries and employ around 65 people on site at Manildra,” Peter explains.
“The business has three distinct units, crushing and refining, Manildra Packing which assembles 20 litre steel drums and packs oil in drums and BIB and Manildra Stockfeeds which produces a range of feeds for domestic and export customers.”
On a personal note, Peter is married to Sarah and they have three children, Georgie and Sophie at university and Hamish, who is in Year 11.
Peter’s story will fit perfectly with FarmLink’s continuing theme of country hospitality which proved such a success last year as guests gathered for a celebration of regional agriculture. The dinner to be held at Bectric Hall, dinner served by Michele Seymour and entertainment by Josh McKellar. Bus transport will also be available.

Eventbrite - FarmLink Annual Dinner

Apr 12

Country hospitality for Annual Dinner

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Wednesday, April 12, 2017

FarmLink is continuing on the country hospitality focus for its Annual Dinner, after last year's successful social event. From Marrar in 2016, we're moving over to Bectric Hall on July 28, 2017 for a celebration of agriculture and its people throughout Southern New South Wales.

Further details, including the announcement of a guest speaker will be released closer to the date.

Mar 16

FarmLink 2017 AGM March 31

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, March 16, 2017

A successful year of growth and consolidation will be acknowledged at FarmLink’s Annual General Meeting at Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre on Friday, March 31.
The meeting will be held from 4pm in the seminar room at TAIC. FarmLink’s 2016 financial reports will be tabled and Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Cassidy will report on the strategic plan for the year ahead.
GRDC's Managing Director Steve Jefferies and Chair of the GRDC Northern Panel, John Minogue have both accepted an invitation to attend, and will address the meeting. 
The AGM will also be the first opportunity for members to take delivery of the much anticipated 2016 FarmLink Research Report, the annual publication which is an exclusive member-only benefit summarising the year’s research projects.
As is tradition, once the formalities of the AGM are completed, the social part of the day will begin from 5pm, with opportunity for members to catch up over a BBQ and refreshments.
To assist with catering logistics, an RSVP via farmlink@farmlink.com.au or 6980 1333 would be appreciated.

Feb 06

Making Sprays Work

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Monday, February 06, 2017

Rebounding from one of the wettest winters for some time, Southern NSW farmers will be spending much of their time, money and energy controlling summer weeds in preparation for cropping 2017.
As a part of the GRDC Stubble Initiative, FarmLink is gathering a selection of the best in their field and hosting a Making Sprays Work demo day here at Temora Ag Innovation Centre on Thursday, February 16 featuring Craig Day of Spray Safe and Save.
So many variables have an impact on the effectiveness of your sprays and we’ll be incorporating a range of those into the demo to help you make the best decisions on equipment and application for your farming enterprise.
Craig Day and CSIRO’s Tony Swan will set up the demo and trial on the Wednesday and carry out some spraying measuring differences in output and penetration into stubble different nozzles and spray set-ups. These results will be analysed and results presented during the introductory session of the workshop.
The Thursday workshop will begin at 5pm over a cool drink and barbecue, with a presentation and discussion on nozzles, wetters, and effect of stubble (both spraying as a pre-emergent or knockdown). This will be followed by a paddock inspection (after dark) to examine the effectiveness of different spray treatments using fluorescent dyes. The different treatments will include spraying the dye into stubbles harvested at 40cm high, harvested at 30cm high, harvest at 20cm high and full spread, harvest at 15cm high and windrow all stubble (barer areas on side).
Cost of the day is $20 per person (incl GST).

AND for the first time, just to make things a little easier for you, FarmLink is offering online booking!!! Just click on the orange button below, or if for some reason that's now working for you, follow your nose to https://farmlinkmakingsprayswork.eventbrite.com.au
Eventbrite - Making Sprays Work

Jan 03

Pasture pre-season workshops

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Are you planning to sow new pastures this year? Do you need some more information on some of the newer pasture species? Do you want to know what you can do to renovate existing pastures? Are you thinking about using specialist forage/fodder crop options?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then head on down to the pasture pre-season workshops where you can have these and other questions answered.
These workshops are part of a series delivered by Local Land Services staff, and co-hosted by FarmLink in West Wyalong and Temora.
Full details about the the February 22 workshops can be found via the flyer

Jan 03

What are your safety obligations?

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber will be at Temora Ag Innovation Centre on February 28, 2017 to host a seminar on succession planning, on farm safety and workplace relations obligations and how the chamber currently supports thousands of businesses to help them become compliant and reduce their exposure to risk.
The workshop is free, but you must register to attend.

Attendees will hear from -

- Michael Ryan, Principal with Booth Associates on succession planning considerations for agricultural businesses.
- Ben Foley, Regional Manager of the MurrayRiverina NSW Business Chamber about workplace relations obligations of employers and how they can support the needs of employers in the agriculture industry.
- Stuart Larkin, District Coordinator from SafeWork NSW about on farm safety obligations and support.
A range of business support stakeholders from throughout the region will also be in attendance to explain how they can also help your business. These include AustSafe Super, WFI Insurance, Apprenticeships Support Australia & Clive Murphy

Full details on the flyer http://www.farmlink.com.au/newsletter/Temora%20Flyer.pdf


Nov 01

Wanted: Wild Radish Seed

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Tuesday, November 01, 2016

FarmLink, in conjunction with Bayer, is looking for 20 wild radish seed samples from across Southern NSW for herbicide resistance testing – free of charge to farmers.
Five samples are being sought (from different farms) across each of the following areas of the Riverina - NE (Narrandera, Griffith, West Wyalong), NW (Grenfell, Cowra, Harden, Cootamundra), SE (Holbrook, Culcairn, Lockhart) Central (Temora, Junee, Wagga).

What do you need to do to participate?

• Collect 2L of radish seed pods (from colour change onwards)
• Store in paper bag so they don’t sweat
• Record grower, paddock and herbicide history details.
• Contact Bayer’s Gus MacLennan for collection of seed.

This testing service is normally valued $380 per test, with results to be reported in 2017, while individual grower results and details to be kept confidential.
For further enquiries or to participate in the collection and survey please contact Lyndal Turner at FarmLink via admin@farmlink.com.au or call (02) 6980 1333