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Milestone for Merredin research

Countryman

The Department of Agriculture and Food's longstanding contribution to the farming community in Merredin and surrounding areas will be celebrated at the research station's 100th field day this month.

The theme of the day will focus on the future 'Tackling the challenges head-on', and also take a look at the many highlights and key achievements of the past.

Department regional director Pam I'Anson invited local farmers, agronomists and community members to attend the celebration and see some of the latest technology and research in action.

Achievements at the research station's trials program over the past 100 years have enabled growers to develop new farming systems and strategies to manage variable seasons and other challenges associated with dryland agriculture.

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Ms I'Anson said former and existing DAFWA staff would be on hand to discuss some of the department's milestone activities that had shaped agriculture in the region.

She said the current trial program, conducted in partnership with industry, continued to support the success of farm businesses to address current and future challenges.

"One of the field day highlights will be a look at research officer Craig Scanlan's trial which is focussed on inputs and gaining the most from lime and phosphate," Ms I'Anson said. "The outcomes of this trial will help growers improve use of phosphate fertiliser to maximise returns."

Building on the station's long history in wheat research, the field day tour will include a project that investigates the effect of row spacing and time of sowing. The latest wheat variety information will also be presented.

The tour will also visit leguminous break crops including chickpea and field pea variety trials with a presentation form Pulse Australia's Alan Meldrum.

Ms I'Anson said canola use was increasing in Western Australia and the availability of new early-maturing varieties for low-rainfall areas was expected to further expand plantings in these areas.

"The afternoon tour will include visits to two canola trials for low rainfall environments - one looking at plant density and another on the timing of nitrogen for yield, oil content and returns - with a briefing from senior research officer Bob French," she said. "Visiting speakers for the day include agricultural consultant Geoff Fosbery from ConsultAg who will provide an industry perspective on the research trials related to crop growth under limited water availability and Robin Wilson from Intergrain."

The September 26 event will conclude at 5pm with celebratory refreshments for staff and visitors.

Ms I'Anson encouraged visitors to join in the 100 year celebrations at the Merredin Dryland Research Institute, Great Eastern Highway, Merredin.

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