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Stirlings to Coast pleased with turn out for Albany zone Grains Research and Development Corporation update

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
GRDC’s senior regional manager for the west region Peter Bird opened and closed the update.
Camera IconGRDC’s senior regional manager for the west region Peter Bird opened and closed the update. Credit: Laurie Benson

Farmers from across the region converged on Albany earlier this week for the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s annual research update for the port zone.

Stirlings to Coast Farmers, which jointly hosted the update at Retravision Stadium along with the GRDC, made sure the day’s program involved sessions relevant to those in the Albany port zone.

SCF chief executive Lizzie von Perger said the update was well attended with more than 100 registering to take part.

She said sessions which involved farmers talking alongside researchers were especially popular.

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“As an example, we had Ben Webb from Kojonup present alongside SCF’s Dan Fay about a trial in claying-gravel soils,” she said.

“When you can jump to the farmer in the Q and A to understand why they were interested in the trial and why they were keen to participate as a host as well learn what they got out of it, it is as valuable as talking about the results of the trial in the scientific way.

“That peer-to-peer learning is important.”

It’s always good to hear about research outside of our patch to broaden our horizons, to help us think outside the box a bit.

Lizzie von Perger

SCF took the opportunity to provide a “quick snapshot” of some its local trials in the morning.

“We had four local trials that we thought would be quite interesting, and just having that short snapshot to say ‘this is what we did and these are the results’ was really valuable because of the local relevance,” Ms von Perger said.

Later sessions talked about broader issues being faced in ways that made it particularly relevant to growers in the zone.

“It’s always good to hear about research outside of our patch to broaden our horizons, to help us think outside the box a bit,” Ms von Perger said.

“The update was also great for agronomists to build their capabilities in the industry as well because they are the touch point for so many other farmers which can’t attend.”

Following another record harvest that was also longer than normal due to difficult weather conditions in parts of the zone, the update also provided a valuable opportunity for farmers to down tools and network with one another.

Ms von Perger said it was always good for farmers to take opportunities to talk to their “neighbours from down the road even”.

“It’s important to talk to each other about how the year went, see how they’re coping with the stresses of running farm businesses which are ever increasing in size,” she said.

“They are just someone you can talk to who has an understanding of what you are going through.”

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