Hyper cereals project hoped to push crop boundaries

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Hyper yielding cereals are three words which together are music to most grain growers’ ears.

Grains Research Development Corporation has unveiled plans to roll out a successful grains research project, which created record yields in Tasmania, in WA.

A centre of excellence and five focus farms will be established in WA — locations have not yet been finalised — as part of a national roll-out of the project in four states.

The WA, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales projects are an extension of a program that has been piloted in Tasmania for the past four years.

Starting next year and concluding in 202, the national rollout of the program will build on the success of the GRDC’s Hyper Yielding Cereals Project in Tasmania.

The project has been spruiked for results that showed in some situations, it was possible to more than double yields.

GRDC senior regional manager - south Craig Ruchs.
Camera IconGRDC senior regional manager - south Craig Ruchs. Credit: Sharon Watt

One of the project's key aims is to reduce the gap between actual and potential grain yield through more informed and timely decision making on planting time, crop, variety choice, weed management, pest and disease control, and crop nutrition.

The roll-out was announced at last Thursday’s annual Hyper Yielding Cereal field day at Hagley, in Tasmania.

GRDC has not locked in an exact location for WA’s centre of excellence. But each state will get one centre of excellence and five focus farms, with 25 created in total.

GRDC senior regional manager - south Craig Ruchs said Tasmania project had focused on increasing high-quality feed grain cereals, thereby reducing its reliance on supplies from the mainland.

wa pilot program was all about moving from a crisis management approach to a risk management approach. rather than waiting for a crisis rather “The new investment will see a shift in focus from a feed grain cereal initiative to explore broader opportunities in wheat, barley and canola, as well as pulse crops, where appropriately adapted varieties warrant inclusion in the program,” he said.

“The Hyper Yielding Cereals Project, now in its final year, has successfully demonstrated that enormous opportunity exists to set new attainable yield targets in higher rainfall regions and provide growers with fresh impetus to boost production and profitability.

“The current project – aimed at driving an increase in Tasmania’s production of high-quality feed grain cereals and thereby reducing its reliance on supplies from the mainland – has shown that it is very possible to more than double yields in some situations through planting of the right cultivars and effective implementation of appropriately tailored management strategies.”

Mr Ruchs said the Hyper Yielding Cereals Project utilised a ‘seeing is believing’ participatory research approach, with results being achieved in growers’ own paddocks and local environments. This same approach will underpin the new national investment.

“We hope this proven approach, combined with appropriate mentoring and agronomic support, will assist growers to move from intent to change, to implementation, providing the motivation, knowledge and ability to realise yield and profit opportunities,” he said.

“Through the new investment, high yield potential cultivars suited to local environments will be identified and the most appropriate agronomic management tactics – including paddock selection and preparation, canopy management, disease, weed and pest control, and crop nutrition strategies – will be explored to assist grower and adviser decision making.

“Growers will have the knowledge, ability and confidence required to advance their farming systems beyond the status quo.”

The Tasmanian project is being led by the Foundation for Arable Research Australia, in collaboration with Southern Farming Systems.

Mr Ruchs said more details would be available on the open tenders section of the GRDC website at http://bit.ly/2USGkzH.

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