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TAS Country : July 2010
12 Tasmanian Country Friday, July 30, 2010 Grain research Update on Canola as a dual-purpose grain crop option RESEARCH: John Kirkegaard reveals latest on canola. You can definitely manipulate the flowering time using grazing, but to do that it's important to get the grazing just right.' KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIAN grain growers have been told that with good manage- ment canola can be used as a dual-purpose crop. About 65 growers and industry representatives at last week's Grains Re- search and Development Corporation technical re- search update at Campbell Town got the latest on grazing canola as a dual- purpose crop from CSI- RO's John Kirkegaard. Mr Kirkegaard said the use of canola as a dual- purpose crop was only just gaining momentum, after trials first began in New South Wales in 2004. Previously most growers in southern NSW used wheat as a dual- purpose crop to provide winter forage for stock and then to produce grain Mr Kirkegaard said. However the impact of the Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in the region made growing dual-purpose wheat difficult so pro- ducers then started look- ing at other options. Mr Kirkegaard said dur- ing the initial research there were concerns that canola would be unable to recover sufficiently after grazing to produce ad- equate grain yields, but trials had soon proven otherwise. ''The key really is good grazing management,'' Mr Kirkegaard said. ''You want to have the stock on there long enough to make the best use of the feed available, but without leaving them on too long past bud elongation so the flowering isn't affected.'' Canola intended for grazing should be sown between two and three weeks early. Mr Kirkegaard said an- other advantage of using canola in a dual-purpose system was that grazing could also delay flowering for frost prone areas like Tasmania, reducing the risk of frost damage to the crop. ''You can definitely ma- nipulate the flowering time using grazing, but to do that it's important to get the grazing just right,'' he said. After the initial trials in 2004, commercial growers in New South Wales started growing canola as a dual- purpose crop from 2007. Since then trials have been done to determine the most effective management methods to get the best results from both grazing the grain production. Grazing of the crops can start as soon as the plants are well anchored. Good paddock prep- aration, choosing the right variety and crop nutrition management all help to en- sure a good amount of bio- mass is produced prior to grazing. Mr Kirkegaard said apply- ing nitrogen before crops are grazed should be done with caution to avoid possible nitrate problems with graz- ing stock. Canola is a highly palat- able feed source and is readily eaten by both sheep and cattle. ''If you're looking at a dual-purpose crop, then canola is just another op- tion,'' Mr Kirkegaard said. Mr Kirkegaard said un- like dual-purpose cereals, there has been little research yet into the most suitable varieties of canola for both grazing and grain pro- duction. '' We need to start looking at the different varieties now to find out which ones are going to be the most suitable for use in dual-purpose sys- tems,'' said. Mr Kirkegaard said the CSIRO research was some of the first in the world. ''This is actually quite new,'' he said. ''Even in countries like the US where they grow large amounts of canola, they haven't done much work on the grazing side of it,'' he said. Choose wisely GREENER PASTURES: Nuffield Scholarship winner Rob Bradley on his Longford property. Perennial solution to our Our soils aren't the best soils in Australia and we're pushing them hard by intensive horticulture, so I started to look at what role pastures can play.' KAROLIN MacGREGOR LIVESTOCK and pasture can play a vital role in keeping intensive cropping sustainable. This was a key message from Nuffield Scholarship winner Rob Bradley, who has recently returned from a global tour, during which he looked closely at the role these two factors can play in intensive cropping systems. Mr Bradley was a guest speaker at last week's Grains Research and De- velopment Corporation technical update at Camp- bell Town. He told participants that emerging problems with declining soil structure, salinity and herbicide re- sistance on some areas of their Longford property Woollen Park, after about 12 years of intensive crop- ping, had forced him to look closely at how they were managing their soils. ''Our soils aren't the best soils in Australia and we're pushing them hard by intensive horticulture, so I started to look at what role pastures can play to make sure we're managing our soils in a more sustain- able way,'' Mr Bradley said. He said a major change in cropping systems around the world had star- ted in the 1950s with the advent of chemical ferti- lisers, including nitrogen. These days pastures and livestock are not included in many intensive crop- ping systems around the world that rely heavily on inputs to maintain fertility and production. Mr Bradley said he had been shocked to find that farmers in some parts of the world, including the well-known agricultural region of California in the US, were heavily reliant on increasing amounts of fer- tilisers to maintain their production in what were often poor soils. ''Igottoseealotof different production sys- tems, and for us over here I just don't think we have the cost structures and the access to cheap inputs to make a system like that work,'' he said. Mr Bradley said there were now few countries where cropping and live- stock are still integrated on the same land. He was surprised to find that organic producers were among those who were still regularly using livestock in their cropping 2034021-100723 potato futures 2010 Annual potato grower review Topics will include: • DNA TESTING FOR PATHOGENS IN OUR SOIL • NEW CULTIVARS • SIMPLOT TRIAL RESULTS • VARIABLE RATE IRRIGATION • PLUS MORE Wed 4th Aug: 2-5 p.m., Beachway Motel, Ulverstone Thu 5th Aug: 2-5 p.m., Scottsdale RSL Club Fri 6th Aug: 2-5 p.m., Longford Football Club To RSVP for catering contact Donna Lucas at RDS on 6231 9033 www.ruraldevelopmentservices.com Level 4, 29 Elizabeth St, Hobart, 7000
August 5th 2010