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Farmanco Facts - March 2021

Blake O'Meagher is an Agronomist and Precision Ag Specialist, based at Beverley in WA and he introduces the March edition of Farmanco Facts with the Editorial. In part, Blake says –

February saw our Precision Ag (PA) team help facilitate some GRDC funded ‘Introductory workshops to PA’. Part of a national project, we helped facilitate four workshops in total from Lake Grace, Jerramungup, Kojonup and Wickepin.
Grower participation in these workshops highlighted the growing interest in Precision Ag, Controlled Traffic Farming, data management and software application support. These workshops will also be followed up with further workshops in August/September where we will look to focus on reading in yield data, creating prescriptions and exporting out files to displays in the field. A big thankyou to Alice Butler for co-ordinating and facilitating these workshops as grower engagement and interest was high.

Key Points of March articles include:

Glyphosate Residues in Grain & Soil

(By David Cameron, Agronomist)

  • AMPA is the abbreviation for aminomethylphosphonic acid, a product of glyphosate degradation

  • AMPA can have low levels of herbicidal activity, but it is tolerated well enough by most crops we grow. It can be absorbed through the roots, translocated through the plant and into the seed during grain fill;

  • Lupins are a more sensitive crop and AMPA levels in sandy soils can affect early growth

  • Low PBI soils and applications of phosphorus fertiliser can release glyphosate and AMPA from binding sites in the soil, which can lead to AMPA uptake

  • Glyphosate and AMPA can chelate trace elements, making them less available

  • Rhizoctonia may be more of an issue when high rates of glyphosate are used

Is now the time for robots in Ag? Part 2

  • Apart from a few areas, the “State of the Art” in livestock robotics isn’t currently as advanced as it is for broadacre and horticulture, especially when applied to extensive livestock systems

  • There are a lot of potential uses for robots in livestock handling, but much of the research and development is being done in universities, rather than commercial organisations. Universities may not have access to sufficient funding to commercialise their ideas, leading to a gap in producer access

  • There is some interesting tech coming out of the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, especially around livestock tracking and herding. Australia appears to be at the forefront of the application of research in this area

  • Things are moving quickly - this article will rapidly be out of date

Profitable Rotations

By Stacey Bell, Management Consultant / Project Officer

Factors that need to be taken into account when making these decisions, besides those of Price, Climate, Agronomy and access to markets

  • Technology: Do you have the means to support this new venture in terms of existing equipment, or do you have to take into consideration a modification or a replacement of the equipment you already have?

  • Financial Position: Are you in a position to support or recover if this doesn’t work out for you

  • Stage of life for you and your business – for example: If you are looking to retire and are planning to sell your business, you are less likely to take a chance on a new enterprise than a person who is at the beginning of their career

  • Attitude to risk: Do you believe that if you’re not living on the edge that you’re taking up too much space?

  • Your preferences: (On a very basic level) Research has shown that if you enjoy what you are doing and are interested, then you will be more successful at it.

Malt Barley Variety Receival recommendations for 2021 / 2022

By Ryan Duane, Grain Marketing Consultant

  • The WA barley industry’s rationalisation program continues

  • Spartacus and Planet were the dominant malt varieties grown in WA in 2020/21

  • GIWA’s recommendation is that Spartacus and Planet will be the varieties most widely segregated in 2021/22

  • La Trobe demand reducing (as Spartacus increases), while Scope will be phased out as a malt variety

  • At the time of writing, CBH were yet to release their advice on preferred and acceptable varieties for the coming season

  • Maximus CL has been granted malting accreditation

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