• Hannah Phillips

Freeing Farms from Frost in the Mallee

The latest farm practices to help mitigate frost damage to cereal and pulse crops will be the hot topic for Mallee growers at the end of this month, when two frost experts speak at a field day near Ouyen.

Being held on August 30, leading WA frost researcher Ben Biddulph will be the keynote speaker at the event, alongside Irymple-based Agriculture Victoria Regional Research Agronomist Audrey Delahunty.

Dr Biddulph, who is a researcher with WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, will provide practical tips for farmers to change the severity and duration of frost damage in cereal crops, while Ms Delahunty will showcase a frost chamber trial in pulses.

Dr Biddulph said there are actions growers can take to set up their paddocks for the 2019 season while taking a bigger picture approach.

Growers at the forum will also hear about the likelihood of similar frost events in the area, while learning of opportunities to manage frost risk such as changing stubble height in frost-prone landscapes, variable rates of nitrogen for canopy management, effects of sowing rates and sowing dates and tailoring crop varieties or growing pasture in frost-prone areas.

Dr Biddulph said it's more important now than ever to get the latest information as the frost season has extended.

“Crops are more advanced in late winter and spring partly because our autumns are warmer," he said.

“We are finding that a lot of crops in the area are all at a vulnerable stage at once – and one frost can cause a lot of damage.”

The field day kicks off at 8:30am at the Southern Pulse Agronomy field site, 12 km north-west of Ouyen, near the intersection of North West Road and Parallel Road.

For more information, contact Heather Drendel, Agriculture Victoria Hopetoun, on 0427 868 705.