BYG moves to next phase


There has been a strong response from growers seeking involvement in the second phase of the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Bridging the Yield Gap (BYG) initiative.

Program leader Peter White said about two thirds of producers in a recent survey indicated an interest in being involved and several of those farmers were from the Esperance Port Zone.

“We are about to move into the second phase of BYG, ” he said.

“During this time the department will work closely with growers, consultants, and agribusiness players from higher rainfall shires in WA with the aim of increasing grain production and profitability.”

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The BYG initiative is part of a five year project targeting grain production areas that receive more than 350mm of annual rainfall.

It focuses on removing constraints to soil and crop management or developing successful business enterprises.

“The bottom line aim of the initiative is to assist growers in higher rainfall areas to boost their management of grain production, and therefore their profits, ” Dr White said.

“To achieve this, the project will build and support local innovation partnerships consisting of farmers, consultants and other experts.

“Three partnerships are being developed to pilot the process.”

Dr White said the first phase of BYG had laid important groundwork, assessed existing data and information and identified gaps in production potential.

During this part of the project DAFWA had also been studying ways to overcome these gaps.

Dr White said as part of the initial program, the department commissioned a phone survey of 300 grain producers to collect information about current practices and find out what motivated them to adopt technologies to increase crop yields.

“The survey has highlighted key gaps in growers’ current activities which the BYG project can address, ” he said.

These gaps include post emergent nutrient testing, addressing nutrient deficiency, yield mapping, using clay to overcome non-wetting soils, herbicide resistance testing and integrated weed management.

Dr White said more than half of growers surveyed said they expected to increase grain yields in the next five years using current farming systems.

He said six out of 10 survey respondents expected yield increases of 10 per cent or higher.

Dr White said more than one quarter of growers who were expecting a grain yield increase during the next five years said it would be attributed to better management, use of consultants and/or new machinery.

“All growers said that trying new crop varieties would also be instrumental in increasing their grain yields, ” he said.

“And another one in 10 growers said they were happy with their current yields and had already reached their potential yield levels.”

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