An increase in the tools, knowledge and confidence of growers and advisors across the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Northern Region to optimise pulse crop yields is the aim of a new GRDC funded project titled ‘Pulse Check – local extension and communication for profitable pulse production in South East NSW’. FarmLink is working with Pulse Australia in co-ordinating the GRDC Pulse Check project across five GRDC sub-regions in NSW. To ensure local relevance and the best outcome for growers, local organisations have been engaged to facilitate the Pulse Check groups –
Liverpool Plains – Heuston Agronomy Services
Central West – Central West Farming Systems, FarmLink and Heuston Agronomy Services
Central East – LLS
South West – Irrigated Cropping Council, the Irrigation Research and Extension Committee and Southern Growers
South East – Riverine Plains and FarmLink/LLS
These discussion groups will allow growers, advisors and researchers to identify the challenges and opportunities created by pulse crops in the rotation identifying the current state of play with them allow the groups to direct their own learning tapping into information and tools being delivered through GRDC and other pulse investments. Activities could include pulse expert evenings, field walks, and experienced agronomist, grower and marketer presentation events.
FarmLink Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Cassidy said the discussion group structure had been selected as the best method for grower extension activities to maintain continued engagement.
“The activities will be directed by the group members themselves and supported by experienced agronomists,” Ms Cassidy said.
Groups will meet two to three times each season and remain connected through social and other media. A program of interactive seasonal activities will be conducted by each group to include all aspects of the pulse value chain. Meetings will be facilitated by an agronomist or farming systems group extension officer, with guest presenters included (marketers, researchers, experienced growers etc.) on an as needs basis as identified by group members. This will build the knowledge required for pulse production, in turn increasing capacity for greater production in the region.
Pulse Australia’s Phil Bowden said that despite poor seasonal and market conditions this season for pulses, fundamentals remain strong globally with factors such as Indian economic growth in demand for chickpeas and lentils, increased Chinese demand for peas and faba beans, and short supply of pulses in Pakistan all contributing.
“In addition, the current drought in eastern Australia, along with the high prices for livestock and wool are increasing demand for pulse-based stock feed particularly lupins, field peas and faba beans,” Mr Bowden said.
Pulse Check groups will be forming soon in your area.