GIAV crop tour set to hit the road next month

Liz Wells, September 11, 2023

Louis Dreyfus Commodities research analyst Tim Crowe and ABARES industry economist Emily Dahl were among the scouts on the 2022 GIAV crop tour. Photo: GIAV

THE GRAIN Industry Association of Victoria is gearing up for its annual crop tour to shine a light on wheat and barley production prospects for the southern New South Wales and the state of Victoria.

Started in 2016, the tour provides a solid indication of yield and quality from the upcoming harvest, with results usually published at the end of the week following the event.

The tour is scheduled to take place on October 11 and 12, following a briefing with Agriculture Victoria and GIAV in Bendigo on the eve of the tour’s commencement.

“It’s a hub-and-spoke system, where we all start in Bendigo, and then branch out on eight routes,” GIAV secretary Colin Peace said.

“Some go up to Wagga, some to Ouyen, and some to Horsham.”

“We have an app for everyone to punch their numbers into, and we collate the figures it collects.

“The app has been a marvel; from it, you can get an estimate of wheat and barley yield, and we’ve been using it since 2019.”

Each vehicle on the crop tour looks at 12-14 paddocks per day, and each occupant looks at the key yield influencers available in mid spring: head count; tiller count, and row spacing.

“There are a few other requirements, like don’t assess headlands.”

The crop tour is open to non-GIAV members, and includes participation from banking graduate programs, and University of Melbourne agricultural science undergraduates.

“We have good support from Agriculture Victoria too.”

The tour is modelled on the US Wheat Quality Council event, and Mr Peace said the GIAV event is a great networking event for all involved.

“We don’t stop at the same paddocks every year, and we have a well-worn methodology to address the natural bias people have to want to look at the best paddocks.”

GIAV’s crop tour is arguably the largest ground-truthing event held in relation to crop yields in Australia, and has therefore attracted the interest of those looking to assess the accuracy of satellite imaging.

“It’s a way of making direct comparisons on yield from ours to theirs, so they can see if they need to look at improving their algorithm.”

Victoria is a significant domestic consumer, and exporter of bulk and containerised grain, as well as home to most of Australia’s barley malting capacity.

Observations made by those on the GIAV crop tour also provide insights into varieties planted, and the quality of grain expected from the Victorian harvest which occurs mostly in November and December.

Results from the GIAV crop tour are expected to be available by October 20, and those interested in taking part in the tour can visit the GIAV website.

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