GAPP members get out into the field


GAPP (Growth Adoption Production and Profit) discussion group members have been out in the field, taking part in crop walks across the region.

Making the most of early spring sunshine and the excellent growing conditions of late, the GAPP members have enjoyed seeing what other farmers are doing as well as the progress of field trials in their regions.

The crop walks were conducted for GAPP groups based at West Wimmera, Rupuanyup, Hopetoun, Manangatang, Quambatook and the Southern Mallee.

GAPP coordinator Linda Walters said she asked members to suggest topics and ideas about what they wanted to see.

“In this round of meetings, I was keen for the members to choose where they wanted to go and what they wanted to see,” she said.

“We asked the growers if they had anything of interest they’d be willing to share with the group and designed the crop walk around this feedback.”

Some growers had two varieties growing side by side while others had they run some test strips in their paddocks.

Growers also shared their ‘stuff ups’ this season which motivated much discussion and provided a valuable learning opportunity for members.

Hot agronomy

There was plenty to see in the field and in terms of insects. Most groups were able to find evidence aphid and grub activity and in many cases, someone in the group could identify the pest.


Crop diseases were also discovered to be prevalent with scald in barley at Nhill a key talking point.

A robust discussion about crop nutrition was motivated by a successful foliar application of liquid zinc in a wheat crop at Rupanyup. In this paddock the grower had left an untreated test strip and deficiency symptoms were clear.

Ongoing weed management was also a hot topic and at Curyo the Southern Mallee group saw a custom-made shielded sprayer at work on Linc Lehmann’s property.

Linc, who is a GAPP group member, developed the sprayer to try and relive the stress on herbicide chemistry on his farm and the group were impressed by his ingenuity.

Linc Lehmann's shielded sprayer
Linc Lehmann’s shielded sprayer


The Hopetoun group had expressed interest in joining the Manangatang group for a look around and to see how they manage things differently.

This joint crop walk saw over 20 farmers from both districts gather at Manangatang where they visited the precision agriculture research site at Brad Plant’s farm. Participants heard from Brad (also a GAPP member) and BCG’s Sebastian Ie about the use of drones for NDVI measurements and soil sensor mapping and how at a farm scale, this data could be used to influence management decisions relating to fertiliser and herbicide applications.

Each GAPP group has agronomic support from local practicing agronomists. Joining the GAPP activities, representatives from AGRIvision, Landmark, Agritech Rural, Tyler’s Rural and Hardware and Western Ag provided great technical commentary and added good local content to the day.

Ben Cordes from Tyler's discusses cover crops on the Rupanyup GAPP crop walk
Ben Cordes from Tyler’s discusses cover crops on the Rupanyup GAPP crop walk

Hay production

Hay production was another key theme at all the crop walks with many farmers considering adding it to the enterprise mix.

At Quambatook, the group visited Jarred Schlitz’s oaten hay paddock which was intended for a Japanese market. The discussion group were interested to learn about the agronomic considerations to manage water soluble carbohydrates, colour and stem thickness and how it is utilised as a three year break option for weed control.

 Research across the region

The GAPP groups were also able to inspect a number of trial sites across the region.

At Nhill it was a happy coincidence that a group of State Government researchers were inspecting the BCG/Agritech Rural Nhill trial site at the same time. They talked to the group about the nematode trial and the different nematode species, the main one being the root lesion nematode.

The growers heard how root lesion nematode can severely affect root growth (laterals) and cause weakening in the plant. Conducting a Predicta B test is the best way to determine nematode numbers. One grower reported they had very high numbers and plant growth had been affected.


Other trials visited included:

  • Canola and National Variety Trials at Manangatang
  • Yellow leaf and Spot Form of Net Blotch trials at Curyo
  • Sowing direction trial at Jil Jil
  • Tyler’s trial site at Rupanyup
  • BCG/Agritech Rural trial site at Nhill
  • Agriculture Victoria soil moisture probes at Normanville
  • Agriculture Victoria nitrogen application method trial at Quambatook
  • Barley agronomy trial at Quambatook
  • BCG main site at Birchip

Yield Prophet® and grain marketing outlook

One farmer from each group had the opportunity to run Yield Prophet® in one of their paddocks. The growers reported an interest in the reports that were generated throughout the growing season, especially at key times for application.

Hayden Grant from Managatang said he really enjoyed using the simulation model in his paddock.

“It validated my gut feeling to topdress urea,” he told the group.

Grain market update and weed resistance

Peter Sidley from ADM grain marketing provided an update on how grain prices are tracking at the moment and the outlook leading into harvest.

Bayer’s ‘Diversity Can’t Wait’ initiative was also discussed, highlighting the need to protect chemistry as in the last 20 years there has been no new herbicide groups developed. Problems have been encountered in other parts of Australia with farmers having to use four modes of actions in the one spray.

Bayer offered free resistance testing to a limited number of GAPP members and along with tests conducted across Australia, they plan to map resistance across Australia.

2016 program nearly concludes

The crop walks represented the last meeting for 2016 but GAPP coordinator Linda Walters said there would be a ‘bumper’ end-of-year newsletter produced and the program would return in 2017.

The GAPP program is run by BCG in partnership with the State Government.  For more information phone the BCG office on 03 5492 2787.


More images of the GAPP 2016 spring crop walks can be found here.

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