The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will more than double its national investment into frost research, development and extension (RD&E) during the next five years.
Its annual investment in frost RD&E will increase from about $1.2 to 1.3 million annually, to more than $3 million, from July, 2014.
GRDC northern regional panel chairman James Clark said the increased investment would be welcomed by grain growers everywhere from the NSW Central West right through to Central Queensland, whose crops were recently hit hard by late-season frosts.
“As frosts are often sudden and are difficult to forecast, they can be more financially and emotionally devastating than other cropping constraints such as drought as there is less opportunity to plan ahead and reduce input costs to minimise losses,” Mr Clark said.
“In the northern cropping region, direct losses from frost have been estimated to be $50 to $100m per annum and frost costs the national grains industry more than an estimated $360 million on average each year.”
Frosts are most devastating in spring when cereals are at susceptible post-booting stages of development, with damage occurring to the plant reproductive structures.
Research has confirmed that in many areas the ‘frost window’ is ending later in the season, increasing growers’ exposure to frost risk.
GRDC supported frost research in recent years has aimed to develop ‘frost phenotyping’ methodology allowing researchers to accurately measure and quantify the effect of frost on varieties in the field, regardless of environmental conditions.
“Progress made in developing this essential methodology means the GRDC is now able to increase its focus on other areas,” he said.
“The new frost research to be supported by the GRDC will have three components – genetics, management and environmental.”
Primary research organisations which will lead the frost research include Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), and the University of Adelaide.
The collaborative Australian National Frost Program (ANFP) will continue working on the production of frost rankings for wheat and barley varieties, investigate pre-emptive measures for growers and continue research into developing frost-tolerant varieties.
Mr Clark said that the GRDC had invested more than $13.5 million into frost-specific projects since 2000.
For information on frost damage and what steps to take when it occurs, see the GRDC’s Back Pocket Guides, www.grdc苏州纹眉学校.au/GRDC-BPG-FrostCereals and www.grdc苏州纹眉学校.au/GRDC-BPG-FrostPulses.
A GRDC Managing Frost Risk booklet is also available for download via www.grdc苏州纹眉学校.au/GRDC-Booklet-ManagingFrostRisk or for purchase of a hard copy at $10 plus postage and handling from Ground Cover Direct,
free phone 1800 110 044 or email [email protected]苏州纹眉学校.au.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.