Merredin preps for better season

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Cally DupeThe West Australian
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MAGFIG representatives Dave Meharry, Doug McGinnis and Neil Smith.
Camera IconMAGFIG representatives Dave Meharry, Doug McGinnis and Neil Smith. Credit: Countryman, Cally Dupe

Eastern grain belt growers fighting to make the best of a tough season have toured the Merredin area to hear about local grain trials.

The Wrestling 2017 and Beyond spring research event was organised by the Merredin and Districts Farm and Improvement Group and held on September 20.

More than 40 growers toured grain trial sites at the Merredin Research Facility and listened to talks by agribusiness and regional support service organisations.

MADFIG vice-president Andrew Crook said the focus was to provide relevant information to growers and the industry about making the most of this year’s growing season and how to prepare for next year.

“Although this season has been challenging, growers will be able to improve practices and adapt better to dry conditions in the future by observing this local research and by networking with other growers to share knowledge and experiences,” he said.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development grains development officer Glen Riethmuller showed the group his 30-year-old trial site and spoke about the success of establishing wheat by seeding into 2016’s rows using auto-steer.

Mr Riethmuller also advised growers about making machinery adjustments to successfully harvest shorter crops following the below average rainfall season.

Research officer Catherine Borger provided an update on an ongoing wild radish management trial.

The trial investigates the cumulative impact of single or double knockdown herbicides, low or high seeding rates and early or late applications of in-crop selective herbicides.

Development officer Kylie Chambers presented her findings of a recent survey to characterise soil-borne disease risks in the eastern grain belt.

Senior research officer Bob French discussed a wheat and canola crop trial site and the application of lime to correct aluminium toxicity in acidic soils.

Research officer Dion Nicol also talked about matching wheat varieties with sowing times in the region.

Department executive director Jason Moynihan said the field day was a good opportunity for growers to learn more about the ways in which the department was working to assist WA farm businesses to address current and future challenges.

“Visitors saw the cutting-edge research being undertaken in Merredin by the department and its partners, including the Grains Research Development Corporation and CSIRO,” Mr Moynihan said.

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