TALKING TRIALS: Farmer Peter Howlett on his farm with GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue.
TALKING TRIALS: Farmer Peter Howlett on his farm with GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue. Claudia Williams

Researchers identify needs for South Burnett farmers

HEARING what keeps South Burnett farmers up at night has helped the Grains Research and Development Corporation refine their research, development and extension investments at a regional and national level.

The corporation's 11-man advisory panel discussed concerns about peanut crop diseases in Kingaroy during its annual listening tour through the Wide Bay and Burnett region.

GRDC Northern Region Panel chairman John Minogue said meeting directly with industry was a critical part of finding out the challenges facing different regions of Queensland, as well as getting feedback about growers' current research needs and priorities.

"The Wide Bay and Burnett region has been impacted by drier than usual conditions, which has made it a tough season for many growers,” Mr Minogue said.

"Alongside the challenges of dry times, other issues growers raised included the need for more information about diseases such as peanut kernel shrivel and Sclerotinia stem rot, which are currently causing yield losses in peanut crops.

"We reassured growers that the GRDC are continuing to invest in research that aims to deliver information back to growers about these diseases, as well as identifying management options.”

The panel discussed a long-term GRDC breeding program investment with the Peanut Company of Australia, which has developed some lines showing promising disease tolerance for PKS, but these are several steps away from being commercially available.

"Our role as an advisory panel is to engage directly with growers in a two-way conversation that helps us to develop an in-depth understanding of the regional constraints challenging their farm profitability and productivity,” Mr Minogue said.

"Understanding what keeps growers awake at night is vital, so we can fulfil our responsibility of ensuring GRDC investments made on their behalf, deliver relevant, paddock-ready solutions to production constraints and importantly improve farm profitability.”

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