App sprouts podcast access for farmers on the go

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Jo Wheeler, of Grains Research Development Corporation, with the new app.
Camera IconJo Wheeler, of Grains Research Development Corporation, with the new app. Credit: Sharon Smith

Farmers facing hours alone in the header this harvest can tune in to a new weekly podcast series on improving grain growers’ profitability.

GRDC Podcast, which features researchers, growers, advisers and industry stakeholders, is only in its infancy.

Grains Research Development Corporation grower relations manager Jo Wheeler believes the wide range of topics will appeal to farmers across the nation, including in WA.

“With hay cutting and baling in full swing in many areas of WA, and harvest just around the corner, the timing of these new podcasts is ideal,” she said.

“Growers and machinery operators can get detailed and relevant information on interesting topics as they are going about their daily business.”

Ms Wheeler said WA topics soon to be released included frost, the WA GRDC Regional Cropping Solutions Network initiative, diamondback moth and cabbage aphids, the new Ranking Options for Soil Amelioration tool; net blotch diseases in barley; nematodes, local legume options, and snail management.

GRDC launched the conversational-style podcasts last month, with the hope of sharing topics including the seasonal issues, research and trial results.

The series will be updated with weekly episodes collected from across Australia’s grain regions and is firmly focused on delivering information to growers and advisers to improve profitability.

For farmers with poor internet, the podcasts can be downloaded when connected and played later.

GRDC grower business group general manager Lucy Broad, of Canberra, said the podcast series had been developed in response to audience requests for quality information, on-demand.

“We know growers and advisers are keen to hear the latest research and development information,” she said. “This is a way of delivering it to them in an accessible format that lets them decide what, when and where they listen.”

Podcast topics released so far include managing frost risk, featuring South Australian Research and Development Institute principal research scientist in climate applications Peter Hayman.

Other episodes include “what is really happening underground and how does it impact your crop”, featuring Professor Mike Bell, of the University of Queensland.

Ms Broad said the series was designed to deliver a mix of topics, from a broad range of regions.

“The other big advantage of podcasts is we can turn around content really quickly, respond to seasonal issues and provide information in a really useful, timely and easy to listen way,” she said.

“These episodes have been developed in an easy-to-understand, conversational style.”

To access the new GRDC podcast series, go to and subscribe to iTunes, or listen from your desktop.

GRDC Podcast series

Topics on the podcast include:

  • “Managing frost risk” by SARDI’s Peter Hayman tackles frosts, the danger of a warm spring and how varietal choice means balancing frost and heat risks, along with plant-available water.
  • “A hands-free hectare” by Martin Abell, of Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom, explains how in a world-first, a crop was planted, nurtured and harvested using automated machinery, with no humans stepping foot in the paddock.
  • “Are you ready for change?” by the CSIRO’s Nadine Marshall investigates how prepared for change 240 northern cattle producers were, in a study that could equally apply to grain growers.

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