People on the move

Pulse field day raises curtain on APC2019 + PICS

Liz Wells October 16, 2019

Sparke Agricultural & Associates director Matthew Sparke, Horsham, addresses the Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day gathering at Horsham on the subject of herbicide use in pulses.

THE SOUTHERN Pulse Agronomy Field Day showed off the Wimmera’s place as a powerhouse of pulse production to growers, consultants, researchers and a number of international visitors in Horsham for this week’s Australian Pulse Conference.

Hosted by Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research & Development Corporation, the annual event doubled as the first day of the three-day conference program, which has attracted delegates from across Australia, as well as Canada and Pakistan.

Following a welcome to country, the event was opened by two Wimmera growers, GRDC Southern Panel chair John Bennett and Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann.

Mr Bennett said the introduction of pulses to southern Australia could be likened to the kind of disruption technology so talked about today.

“We talk about disruption: pulses disrupted cereal-growing in the Wimmera in a beneficial way,” he said.

Since the 1980s, the region has evolved into a major producer of faba beans, field peas, kabuli chickpeas, lentils, lupins and vetch, and Mr Bennett said the field day provided an ideal interface for growers, industry and the research community.

The field day saw agronomists and researchers from New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria provide rundowns on the major pulse species and their breeding and agronomic pathway, and included discussions about growing pulses in southern farming systems.

Pulse diseases and management, weed management and herbicides, and machinery sowing and inoculation were also covered in separate sessions.

The field day was held on a trial site owned by the Rethus family, and Tim Rethus gave an insight into farming on blocks in different areas of the Wimmera, and also hosted a farm visit to look at the machinery and storage used in the Rethus operation.

It was one of three options for conference delegates in the afternoon following the field day, with the others being a tour of Agriculture Victoria’s Grains Innovation Park, and a tour of the AGT Foods Australia pulse-processing plant.

The Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day was also chosen by Pulse Breeders Australia to launch new varieties of faba bean, kabuli chickpea and lentil.

Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day Gallery:

Queensland visitors to the Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day included PulseAg Consulting principal Kerry McKenzie, Toowoomba, Australian Mungbean Association president Mark Schmidt, Toowoomba, and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries principal technical officer William Martin, who is based at the Hermitage Research Station at Warwick.

SARDI vetch breeder Stuart Nagel gives a rundown on vetch varieties past and present at the 2019 Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day.

Pulse Australia chief executive officer, Nick Goddard, and Queensland DAF Hermitage senior plant breeder, Merrill Ryan, look over the new-release ‘Raising the Pulse’ report.

Horsham farmer Tim Rethus explains his grain-storage system to a group of visitors on the farm tour which followed the Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day.

University of Technology Sydney post-doctorate student Jiafu Tan, Canberra-based GRDC manager oil crops and pulses Francis Ogbonnaya and Australian National University post-doctorate student Jason Ng.

Federico Ribalta and Laura James

Pulse pre-breeders were well represented at the Southern Pulse Agronomy Field Day, and included University of Western Australia research fellow Federico Ribalta and Agriculture Victoria’s Laura James.

Western Applied Research Corporation general manager Jessica Weber, Scott, Saskatchewan, and retired Australian Grains Genebank curator Bob Redden, Horsham.

Grains Innovation Australia research director Michael Materne, Horsham, and SARDI manager of agronomy Phil Davies.

Grain Producers Australia chairman and Rupanyup farmer Andrew Weidemann and WesternAg agronomist Nick Zordan, Horsham.

Kaniva farmer Malcolm Eastwood and Horsham-based PBSeeds commercial manager Janine Sounness.

AGRIvision Swan Hill agronomist Brett Ainsworth and Beulah farmer and AGRIvision agronomist Riley Lehmann.

Horsham resident Costa Di Biase, Wonwondah farmer Kevin Pymer and NSW DPI Wagga Wagga-based research agronomist Mark Richards.


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