Frost battle heating up

THE Australian grains industry is set to embark on a concerted research effort to help growers – including those in the southern cropping region – in their ongoing battle against frost.

Damage: Frost continues to be an unpredictable and costly constraint and its impact on yields and profits was particularly significant in many parts of the southern region in late spring last year. Picture: Ben Biddulph

Damage: Frost continues to be an unpredictable and costly constraint and its impact on yields and profits was particularly significant in many parts of the southern region in late spring last year. Picture: Ben Biddulph

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will from next month more than double its annual investment in frost research, development and extension (RD&E) activities.

The $15 million, five-year national initiative will tackle frost from several angles and aims to deliver growers a combination of genetic and management solutions.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley said the increased investment had been welcomed by the panel and the Regional Cropping Solutions Networks which support the panel in identification of cropping issues.

“Frost continues to be an unpredictable and costly constraint and its impact on yields and profits was particularly significant in many parts of the southern region in late spring last year,” Mr Pengilley said.

“At recent GRDC grains research updates in the southern region we have heard from researchers that there has been an increase in frost frequency in many areas in the past 20 years,” he said.

“And even though frost is a relatively rare occurrence, some areas do seem to be more prone to the condition than others and the ‘frost window’ appears to be ending later in the season.”

It is estimated that frost damage costs the national grains industry more than $360 million on average each year. 

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily 10/06/2014.

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