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Shining the spotlight on agronomy’s vital role

Enabling the nation’s grain growers and other primary producers to extract the most from their farming systems will be the impetus behind 2017’s Australian Agronomy Conference. Photo: Paul Mathews

Enabling the nation’s grain growers and other primary producers to extract the most from their farming systems will be the impetus behind 2017’s Australian Agronomy Conference.

To be held in the Victorian city of Ballarat from September 24-28, 2017, the conference will be attended by agronomists from across the country who will gather to hear about cutting edge research from Australian and international experts.

Agronomy Australia president and conference convenor, Dr Chris Korte, says the conference – for which the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is the major partner – is an important forum for promoting and supporting critical research and connecting agronomic communities across Australia.

“The theme for the 2017 conference is ‘doing more from less’ and this will frame the presentations and discussions,” Dr Korte said.

“A central plank of Australia’s productive output is agriculture – our agricultural exports alone are worth more than $13.6 billion annually.

“Agronomy – the science and technology of producing and using plants for food for humans and livestock – is a key to ensuring that farmland remains productive across Australia’s diverse landscapes.

“Our agronomists play a vital role in helping our agricultural producers to thrive in a world that is dealing with increasingly variable climates, environmental degradation, and a more developed global community that requires more diverse products from agriculture.”

Dr Korte said the conference would showcase the latest research in areas such as plant breeding, plant physiology, soil science, climate science, nutrient management, weed science, pest management and new technologies.

Keynote presentations will be delivered by Professor Ken Giller from Wageningen University in Holland, and Mick Keogh, Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. They will discuss “doing more with less” from international food production and market perspectives.

Dr Cynthia Grant, a soil scientist from Canada, will present on integrated management strategies for improved fertiliser use efficiency in cereals and oilseeds, while Dr Tom Jensen, Director of the International Plant Nutrition Institute in North America, will outline how professional agronomists in the USA and Canada keep up to date with new agronomic techniques and rapidly evolving technologies.

Dr David Chapman, Principal Scientist for Feed and Farm Systems at Dairy New Zealand, will speak about experiences with lower inputs in pasture-based livestock systems.

Of practical interest to growers will be a workshop on mid-row banding of nitrogen fertiliser on September 27, 2017, involving Drs Grant and Jensen, Australian agronomists and machinery manufacturers.

In addition to agronomists, researchers, growers and other industry personnel from throughout the northern region, the conference will be attended by GRDC northern regional staff: Senior Regional Manager, Jan Edwards; and Manager Soils and Farming Systems, Kaara Klepper.

Other major sponsors of the conference are Agriculture Victoria, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the AW Howard Memorial Trust.

Source: GRDC

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