News

Sep 06

$1.8 million infrastructure grant for TAIC

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Wednesday, September 06, 2017

An investment of more than $1.8 million will help to drought proof field trials for cereals, oilseeds and pulses in southern New South Wales, underpinning investment in research, development and extension (RD&E) in the region.
The Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre (TAIC) is a community owned research farm with soils and an environment typical of more than half the state’s grain producing area.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Chairman John Woods announced on Friday, September 1 the GRDC Grains Research and Development (R&D) Infrastructure Grant to FarmLink Research Limited, which manages the site for Temora Shire Council.
“There are currently 17 private and public organisations conducting RD&E at TAIC, which attracts more than 3000 visitors a year,” Mr Woods said.
“The project will see the construction of a 100 megalitre dam with the capacity to irrigate 100 hectares of trials. It will also upgrade administrative and sample processing facilities; and build a machinery shed to accommodate increased trial and farm equipment and allow for machinery, technology and other agricultural training activities.
“Our RD&E partners need good infrastructure and the right tools to help GRDC to deliver on its purpose of investing in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.
“Dow AgroSciences is committed to centring their wheat breeding at TAIC and is making substantial additional investment,” he said.
FarmLink Chairman Darryl Harper said enhancing the capacity of TAIC to deliver innovation will benefit grain growers across southern NSW.
“Delivering locally relevant innovation, locally, is core to the operation of FarmLink, so making the most out of the resource at TAIC is just good sense,” Mr Harper said.
“FarmLink was established by local growers and researchers to deliver long term productivity, profitability and sustainability, through innovation. We are proud to be continuing and building on that history.”
Temora Shire Council will make a cash and in-kind investment of $444,000 towards the project.
Temora Shire Mayor, Rick Firman, said the Council is proud to be custodian of the site of significant advances in agricultural production.
“Over its 100 year history, the centre has developed new wheat, oats and barley varieties, along with a range of new farming practices,” he said.
“While the research benefits growers across the whole region – not just Temora Shire – the Temora Shire benefits not only through increased agricultural production but also through the significant research investment and visitor dollars that are attracted by FarmLink.
“We are very pleased to work with GRDC to develop infrastructure at TAIC that will further enhance the value and relevance of the activities at the centre.”
The $1,822,792 GRDC Grains R&D Infrastructure Grant is part of $15 million the GRDC Board had agreed to invest in a strategy to build national research capacity.
The purpose of the grant program is to boost capacity and capability in Australian grain research and development through funding key infrastructure, and to create enduring profitability for grain growers.

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

Aug 25

Update on Russian wheat aphid: Presence confirmed in Riverina

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, August 25, 2016

NSW Department of Primary Industries has confirmed the detection of Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) in a wheat crop near Rankin Springs in the Riverina region of NSW.

Russian wheat aphid has been deemed as non-eradicable by the National Biosecurity Management Group. Grain growers should be on the lookout for the pest and consider their management options.
Riverina Local Land Services is working closely with NSW Department of Primary Industries Plant Biosecurity & Product Integrity to keep growers and stakeholders informed. DPI is coordinating reports and providing diagnostics.
If you are a grain grower in southern NSW, we encourage you to monitor your crops for aphids and symptoms, and if you suspect the presence of the Russian wheat aphid, take a sample and photos for identification.

Reporting

Ring the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline - 1800 084 881 to report suspected cases.

For help

If you need help with sampling for Russian wheat aphid please contact Riverina Local Land Services agronomists Lisa Castleman at Wagga Wagga 0427 201 963, Geoff Minchin at Temora 0429 842 489 or Janelle Jenkins at Tumut on 0427 639 947 or your nearest Local Land Services office.

Aphid sampling guidelines

1. Ring the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline – 1800 084 881 to determine where to send samples.
2. Leave aphids on host leaves where possible to reduce damage to aphids during transport.
3. Preferred sampling technique is to ensure plant part and aphid is collected without soil or roots.
4. Package in sealed container eg. plastic takeaway food container or similar and enclose in one or two zip-lock plastic bags and send by Express Post.
5. All samples must be accompanied by a Russian Wheat Aphid diagnostic request form.

Limiting the Spread

To limit the spread of pests and diseases, hygiene is important. It is important to put best-practice biosecurity measures into place to reduce the risk of transport on clothing, footwear, vehicles and machinery when moving between paddocks and farms. In short:
• wear disposable coveralls or change clothing
• wash footwear
• wash vehicles.

Tools available

If you have a confirmed outbreak of Russian wheat aphid, there are tools available to help manage the aphid, including an emergency use permit for specific chemicals issued by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Grain growers planning to spray are encouraged to adhere to all general chemical use practices.

Contact us

Call 1300 795 299 to contact your Local Land Services office from Monday to Friday during business hours. You can also email us at admin.riverina@lls.nsw.gov.au.

DPI_Exotic-Pest-Alert-Russian-Wheat-Aphid.pdf

PHA_Russian-wheat-aphid-How-to-recognise-it.pdf

Russian-wheat-aphid-surveillance-reporting-sheet.pdf

Jun 02

Exotic pest alert - Russian Wheat Aphid

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, June 02, 2016

Cereal crop inspections and reporting is being requested in response to the detection of the exotic pest Russian Wheat Aphid (RWA) Diuraphis noxia in South Australia. This is the first report in Australia of this high priority notifiable pest of the grains industry. Cereal hosts include wheat, barley, triticale and oats.
Landholders and agronomists are asked to keep a watchful eye on emerging cereal crops and report any signs of damage or strange pest activity.
Damage symptoms include a noticeable loss of green colouration across the crop, and on closer inspection, stunted plant growth and loss of vigour.
If Russian wheat aphid becomes established, it could have considerable impacts on yield (up to 80% in wheat and 100% in barley) along with other management issues, including unknown insecticide resistance status and varietal response, with current varieties likely to be severely impacted.
In order to determine the extent of distribution of RWA and for further decisions to be made regarding the response, all grain growing states are coordinating surveillance through agronomists, researchers and growers.
What NSW needs to do …
Agronomists, growers and anyone working in cereal crops are asked to specifically look for Russian Wheat Aphid symptoms and report back on a weekly basis for at least the next month via the NSW RWA surveillance reporting sheet.
Negative observation reports are also required, to assist response decision making and as evidence that inspections have been made. If aphids or symptoms are found, they need to be immediately reported through the EPP Hotline (1800 084 881), which directly goes to Department of Primary Industries in Orange. Timely reporting of this pest if found in NSW will increase the chance of containment and minimise its spread.
Resources explaining hosts, associated symptoms and features of Russian Wheat Aphid to aid in surveillance can also be downloaded below.

Exotic Pest Alert Russian Wheat Aphid Identification and Associated Damage.pdf

NSW RWA Surveillance fact sheet.pdf

Russian wheat aphid surveillance reporting sheet.pdf


Apr 27

Preparing for planting 2016

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rain forecast for this weekend means Riverina farmers are in the middle of preparing for, and sowing, the 2016 winter crop, an integral part of Australia’s agricultural output. Riverina farmers produce $2.1 billion worth of total agricultural output annually (ABARES) with grain production alone worth $795 million annually.
As a part of the preparation for this year’s crop, farmers have been using stubble burning as an important tool in the management of their farming systems. But why do farmers burn?
There are lots of reasons why farmers burn crop residue, but the overriding issue is that this stubble residue will adversely affect their cropping program, which can be compromised if the stubble -
• causes blockages to seeding equipment
• causes uneven crop emergence
• perpetuates crop diseases
• provides habitat for crop pests
• affects the efficacy of weed control
• affects the uptake of nutrients by the new crop
Farmers retain their stubble for as long as possible to provide grazing for sheep, to reduce erosion risk and to retain moisture.
Southern NSW produces some of the highest crop yields and best quality grain in Australia. Average wheat yields of 3-4 tonnes/ha are common, and could be double that in a good year. A direct result of that is that there is large amounts of stubble to deal with before the next crop can be sown. Typically stubble residue can be 1.5 x the grain yield. Research has shown that if the amount of stubble exceeds 3 tonne/ha then many seeders will have difficulties in sowing crops evenly and there will be blockages as the stubble tends to clump up. Getting crops sown to emerge within the correct time period for each variety is so important for the end result. Agronomists spend a lot of time planning crop rotations with farmers and selecting varieties suitable for each paddock to avoid frost and heat stress in critical times in spring, and this depends on the sowing operation going smoothly.
Many crop diseases and pests are harboured in the old stubble residue, so depending on the crop rotation the stubble may need to be removed to prevent the problems. Fungal leaf diseases such as Yellow Leaf Spot in cereals and Blackleg in canola are carried over in stubble residue. Stubble burning reduces these risks in the paddock so that crop seedlings are not exposed to the disease at emergence. Pests such as earwigs, millipedes and slugs rely on stubble cover to improve their habitat in cropping paddocks and can damage emerging seedlings, especially fragile canola seedlings. Removing the stubble by burning can help prevent these from causing a problem.
Weed competition is the greatest threat to crop productivity worldwide, so early control is essential for ensuring that crop yields are not compromised, and the emerging crop can become competitive itself. Stubble can interfere with efficient application of herbicides. Soil active pre-emergent herbicides will not be effective if stubble cover absorbs the spray, preventing even application. Post emergent weed control may also be compromised if standing stubble is shading seedling weeds so that spray droplets do not reach the target so burning stubble before herbicide application will give better results.
The technique of windrow burning as a way of destroying resistant weed seeds is also becoming an important part of the integrated weed management package. Instead of spreading harvested weeds seeds across the paddock, stubble residues are simply dropped via a shute at the back of the header so they can be burnt in late summer or early autumn in a hot burn that destroys all the weed seeds. This allows the majority of the stubble to be conserved, but herbicide resistant weed seeds are destroyed.
Stubble residues can also affect the uptake of nutrients to crops in some circumstances. Cereal stubble from high yielding crops can have a carbon : nitrogen ratio of 80 : 1. When this residue is incorporated into soil it will provide a feedstock for soil microbes. Carbon from crop residues is the primary driver of soil microbial activity and this in turn leads to the release of plant nutrients. The problem here is that the microbes (bacteria and fungi) need other nutrients, particularly nitrogen to digest this carbon. Nitrogen is stripped from soil reserves to do this, hence there will be a short term tie-up of nutrients that are not available to the emerging crop. Farmers have the choice of adding more nutrient for the crop, having the stubble residue in contact with soil for a longer fallow period, or removing the stubble by burning to avoid these nutrient problems. Local research showed that grazing stubbles over summer helped to avoid this nutrient tie-up and redistribute the nutrients across the paddock. Care needs to be taken to not over graze the stubble and increase the risk of soil erosion by wind and water.
Farmers do their best to avoid any impact of smoke on nearby communities by observing some basic principles when conducting stubble burning, including -
• checking with the Bureau of Meteorology and local Rural Fire Authorities when weather conditions will be suitable for burning
• avoiding calm weather conditions that are associated with temperature inversions where smoke will hang in the air for long periods and can drift into local towns.
• burning stubble in the heat of the day with a good cross breeze to give a quick, hot burn.
• awareness of when winds will take smoke into neighbouring towns.
Burning stubble can be done at various strategic times for many reasons, but there is a need to be aware of the “big picture” how it fits into the farming system and how it can be done to minimise the effects on the community.
FarmLink is continuing its work in the GRDC Stubble Initiative to ensure farmers have the support of their local communities thanks to improved stewardship of stubble burning and ongoing sustainable farm management practices.

Jan 29

Improving Crop Productivity

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Friday, January 29, 2016

 FarmLink-hosted workshops get into full swing in February with the Improving Crop Productivity ... practical steps workshop on February 11.

The day will be a combination of presentations and field activities focussed on enabling farmers to establish their own field trials and teaching them about soil sampling. Learn a little bit of the science and then take it out into the paddock to put it into action.

Nov 05

Members asked to contribute wheat samples

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, November 05, 2015

FarmLink is really pleased to partner with GrainGrowers to offer members the opportunity to contribute wheat samples this harvest for analysis for the eighth annual Australian Wheat Quality Report. This is an important step in the marketing of Australia’s quality wheat commodity, and we encourage you to use the enclosed instructions and resources for the sample collection, 
As we enter the 2015 grain harvest, we wish you a safe and trouble-free period. We ask you to keep in mind the Farm Gate Levy contributions which you make as grain and livestock farmers to support agricultural Research and Development. This is a vital factor in the future of the industry and FarmLink plays an important role in ensuring these levies return to the region through the delivery of innovation back to the growers.
We invite you to join the FarmLink Family through a 2016 membership, details of which can be found at www.farmlink.com.au/become-a-member, or by contacting the office on 02 6980 1333.

Happy Harvest!

Cindy Cassidy
CEO FarmLink