Motorbike riders flock to ADAMA crop trials tour

SUNNY skies, motorbikes, the latest in crop field research and a group of like-minded riding and agricultural enthusiasts were the “active ingredients’’ for another successful ADAMA 2-wheel crop trials tour in WA recently.

The fully catered ADAMA WA 2-Wheel Trial Tour returned to the Great Southern this year and attracted close to 40 riders from as far as Geraldton, out to Narembeen and down to Bremer Bay. 

Based from the Broomehill sporting complex, riders and their bikes, some in complete style with sidecars, traversed a range of country and trials from Katanning through to Kojonup and Gnowangerup, as well as South Stirling, where they took-in the picturesque Stirling Range.

Near Katanning, the group visited the TrialCo research site that hosts a range of contract trials and which is focused on generating local data for the region.

The spotlight was put on an extensive herbicide trial involving various pulse crops including faba beans, field peas and lentils. In addition to comparing weed control this season, the trials also investigated the ability of herbicides to combat self-sown weeds in following crops.

One of the strong performers at the site was ADAMA’s new pre-emergent grass herbicide, Ultro® 900 WG, which is set to be available to growers next season for control of ryegrass, brome grass and barley grass in pulse crops.

“Ultro is a novel Group E herbicide. Currently, we are not using this chemistry group in our cropping systems, so it will provide a great alternative in resistance management programs,’’ said WA Market Development Manager with ADAMA, Bevan Addison.

“It is also highly soluble and offers good residual, so it fires-up early and keeps controlling weeds for an extended period throughout the season.

“It is more soluble than alternatives such as propyzamide. This is vital because in many situations where we can have early sowing of lupins and then patchy rainfall to start the season, it will provide better early control of grass weeds.’’

The tour group later visited a paddock demonstration of Ultro herbicide in lupins on a property near Kojonup with agronomist Courtney Piesse. While herbicide resistance was not an issue on the farm, a strong pasture component meant ryegrass burdens were generally high. Despite this, Ultro showed excellent ryegrass control.

Another herbicide that captured strong interest in the TrialCo pulse crop trials was Priority™, a low residual, Group B product from ADAMA. It can be mixed with various post-emergent herbicides to achieve improved control of many common and hard-to-kill weeds, and it is particularly effective against self-sown pulses.

“Due to its low residual, when used in a cereal/legume rotation, you don’t get carryover like we see with clopyralid products,’’ Mr Addison said.

Later during the tour, the group viewed the amount of damage that can be caused by clopyralid carryover in a faba bean crop. A strip was applied to the paddock last year and the carryover effects were dramatic this season.

The TrialCo site also featured a cereal disease trial showcasing various fungicides for control of net blotch.

In addition to the recently released Topnotch™ fungicide from ADAMA, the trial included the company’s new Maxentis® and Proviso® products that are due to be registered next year.

“Maxentis is a highly efficacious, dual mode of action fungicide. It showed excellent performance in the trial and will be a very good option for broad spectrum disease control in cereals and canola,’’ Mr Addison said.

“Proviso is a flexible DMI fungicide option designed to be applied with other suitable mixing partners.’’

Various industry-based trials also were visited during the tour, including National Variety Trials (NVT) and some of which are being monitored with the use of drones and other technologies to further investigate any factors that may be impacting variety performance.

“These are known as Invita trials and will take this type of research work to a new level,’’ Mr Addison said.

Hyper yielding crop trials conducted by FAR Australia at South Stirling was another site on the itinerary.

While limited rainfall has impacted the potential of the trials this season, several other factors attracted interest, including the effects of claying, grazing management strategies, long-season varieties, fungicide management strategies, and different plant growth regulation strategies for long-season cropping. ADAMA offers various products in these areas as part of an integrated approach to high yield cropping systems.

The tour group was impressed with a high performing faba bean crop visited near Kojonup.

“Faba beans are coming back into rotations strongly in many areas and we discussed the important role several new fungicides can play in this, including the high-loaded Veritas® Opti due for release next year,’’ Mr Addison said.

“Growers were impressed with the growth of the faba beans and the systems in place to help maximise crop potential.’’

The site also featured ADAMA’s Pessl weather station running disease modelling for chocolate spot infection risk, which was showing good correlation with disease progression, as well as the company’s Trapview automated pest monitoring system.

Christiaan Valentine from DPIRD discussed the bug trapping program and the use of Trapview and its effectiveness.

Ravensthorpe grower and former Grains Research and Development Corporation western panel member Andy Duncan joined the tour this year and was impressed after the day through the South Stirling region.

“There is a perception that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but there are a lot of challenges in that area once you dig into the production systems,’’ Mr Duncan said.

He said the highlight of the day on the tour was the drive through Red Gum Pass Road.

“I have driven in that part of the world for many years, but never through it. It’s a great drive and everyone should do it.”

Returned rider Alex Jones, who farms at Gairdner, once again enjoyed the tour this year.

“It was awesome. It’s great to see different areas and with a cross section of people from across the State – it’s a good gathering.”

Boyup Brook grower Wayde Robertson said in addition to the fantastic tour, it was great to gain an understanding of some of the new herbicides and fungicides coming through, their effectiveness and how they can be used in different cropping systems.

Riding the biggest and heaviest motorbike on the tour was Harley Davidson rider and Farmanco consultant Laurence Carslake, based at Pingelly.

“It was a really enjoyable trip. It’s great to have a good look around with a group of blokes, talk agriculture and motorbikes, and have a bit of fun. There’s a lot of good interaction with guys from different parts of the State and it’s good to meet some new people,’’ Mr Carslake said.

Some of the line-up of motorbikes on the recent ADAMA WA 2-Wheel Trial Tour during a visit to a fungicide trial at the TrialCo research site near Katanning to discuss the effectiveness of ADAMA’s upcoming Maxentis and Proviso fungicides, as well as its recently released Topnotch product, for disease control in barley.
Christiaan Valentine with DPIRD, Northam, Bert Naude with Wilchem, Perth, and Farmanco consultant Laurence Carslake, Pingelly, caught up for a chat on a break in the ADAMA WA 2-Wheel Trial Tour through the Great Southern recently.
Some of the big motorbikes on the ADAMA WA 2-Wheel Trial Tour were almost dwarfed when they visited a fungicide trial in a flourishing faba bean crop on the Heggaton family’s property near Kojonup.
The ADAMA tour group pictured discussing disease control in barley and wheat at the FAR Australia trial site at South Stirling.
Tour participants “tune-in’’ to South Stirling grower Scott Smith discuss some of the challenges and practices he has adopted for farming in the high rainfall zone. Pictured alongside ADAMA WA Market Development Manager Bevan Addison, Scott hosts FAR Australia cropping trials on his property.