Grains industry news in brief 1/5/22

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
May 1 2022 - 3:00am
MAPPING: A joint Ag Vic / GRDC project is looking at mapping soils to better understand potential constraints.

Soil appointment

AN AUSTRALIAN researcher will chair a leading global group looking at minimising soil pollution.

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Ravi Naidu, a Laureate Professor at the University of Newcastle and Managing Director and chief executive of Australia's leading contaminants research centre, CRC CARE, will chair the International Network on Soil Pollution (INSOP).

INSOP was set up by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as an urgent response to scale-up global efforts to prevent contamination of arable soils by chemicals, fertilisers and plastics and other toxins, with the goal of zero pollution.

It brings together experts in soils and contamination science from around the world to understand the full cycle of soil pollution, from assessment to remediation to the food chain, and find ways to prevent and clean it up, to protect both human health and the environment.

Centrex appointments

PHOSPHATE miner Centrex has made two more appointments to its management team.

Centrex, which has mines in north-west Queensland, has appointed Enzo Artone as chief technical officer whilst Gavin Swart joins as

engineering and projects manager.

Mr Artone joins Centrex from BHP-Olympic Dan and Mr Swart joins from Iluka Resources.

Khapra beetle regulations tighten

The federal government hopes new import conditions will further help protect Australia against khapra beetle, a major threat to Australia's grains industry.

Department of Agriculture deputy secretary Andrew Tongue said an outbreak of khapra could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years.

He said the government was working to ramp up its measures to keep the nation khapra-free.

"Khapra beetle is not present in Australia, but we have recently seen an increase in khapra beetle interceptions as a hitchhiker pest in sea containers," Mr Tongue said.

"Some of these detections have been in consignments that khapra beetle previously had no association with, and from countries not known to have khapra beetle."

In response the government is changing its import requirements for plant products and sea containers.

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3-D mapping for soils

Growers and advisers will be better equipped to manage soil constraints in their paddocks after the development of a three-dimensional (3D) mapping strategy, currently trialled at farms in western Victoria.

This will give a greater understanding of the dynamics and location of constraints to crop production in the soil profile.

Agriculture Victoria senior research scientist Roger Armstrong is leading the research, working closely with a team of scientists, technicians and PhD students.

The research effort is part of the Victorian Grains Innovation Partnership (VGIP) between Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

"Growers often have trouble identifying what the soil constraints are in their cropping paddocks, the soil profile can be highly variable, and often they only analyse the topsoil," Professor Armstrong said.

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"However, our research is enabling us to use soil sensor technologies to 3D-map the location and severity of multiple soil constraints at a paddock scale."

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Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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