Cana­dian pulse probe

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Aglife -

two-week study tour in Canaada

by Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria sci­en­tists has iden­ti­fied a range of new re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties that could ben­e­fit grow­ers and con­tribute to­wards an in­creas­ingly ro­bust Aus­tralian pulse in­dus­try.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria pulse agron­omy re­search sci­en­tists Dr Jason Brand and Tim Ni­gussie visited Saskatchewan and Al­berta as part of the Grains Re­search and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion’s South­ern Pulse Agron­omy pro­gram.

They were part of a del­e­ga­tion that in­cluded South Aus­tralian Re­search Devel­op­ment In­sti­tute re­searchers Drs Chris­tine Walela and Penny Roberts.

The group spent two weeks trav­el­ling through Cana­dian pulse-grow­ing re­gions to meet a range of re­searchers, grow­ers, agron­o­mists and other in­dus­try spe­cial­ists.

Dr Brand said the trip pro­vided his team with ac­cess and in­sight into pulse-man­age­ment op­tions be­ing re­searched and adopted by Cana­dian grow­ers.

“We looked at re­search tar­get­ing weed and dis­ease man­age­ment in pulses and saw how grow­ers were us­ing al­ter­na­tive prac­tices such as in­ter-crop­ping or com­pan­ion crop­ping,” he said.

Among tour high­lights was vis­it­ing Eric John­son, a weeds re­searcher from the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan, and Jes­sica Weber from the West­ern Agri­cul­tural Re­search Cor­po­ra­tion, who showed the South­ern Pulse Agron­omy team through sev­eral weed-man­age­ment and her­bi­cide-tol­er­ance tri­als and in­tro­duced them to grow­ers in the Scott re­gion to dis­cuss how their re­search was be­ing ap­plied on-farm.

“As an al­ter­na­tive to, or to com­ple­ment chem­i­cal weed con­trol, a num­ber of new op­tions were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated,” Dr Brand said.

“We ob­served sev­eral novel weed-con­trol op­tions such as weed clip­ping and in­ter-row cul­ti­va­tion that could be com­bined with laser and mi­crowave tech­nolo­gies and vis­ual sens­ing to cre­ate non­chem­i­cal op­tions in the fu­ture.

“The dis­cus­sions with Mr John­son and Ms Weber will also guide some of the fu­ture direc­tions of our her­bi­cide-tol­er­ance and weed­man­age­ment re­search.”

Dis­cus­sions about re­search into, and the adop­tion of, in­ter­crop­ping in Canada were of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to the vis­it­ing Aus­tralians. At a South East Re­search Farm near Red­vers, Saskatchewan, man­ager Lana Shaw dis­cussed her group’s fo­cus on in­ter­crop­ping, which was be­ing driven by a de­sire for higher pro­duc­tiv­ity crop­ping sys­tems that were less re­liant on syn­thetic fer­tilis­ers, her­bi­cides and fungi­cides.

The grower-led re­search site fea­tured field tri­als com­par­ing a range of crop species mixes, while other tri­als were com­par­ing mixed and skip row sys­tems.

“Par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing were the chick­pea-flax and lentil-flax mixes, which might pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to min­imise fungi­cide use with lower dis­ease pres­sure,” Dr Brand said.

“There were lots of in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tions, but plenty of work is needed to un­der­stand the sci­ence be­hind the ob­ser­va­tions. The in­ter­crop­ping dis­cus­sions we had with grow­ers, re­searchers and agron­o­mists in Canada will help us re­fine where we should be di­rect­ing our at­ten­tion in fu­ture agro­nomic re­search.”

RE­SEARCH: From left, Penny Roberts, Jason Brand, Chris­tine Walela and Tim Ni­gussie dur­ing a two-week study tour in Can­berra.

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