At AgriFutures our extension activities aim to equip growers and producers with the latest information and tools to enable effective responses to current on-farm issues, as well as being prepared for future issues. This means that we work with our extension providers to tailor activities and adapt to changing conditions so that we can meet the needs of our industries.
Dedicated extension projects are underway in the Rice, Chicken Meat, Ginger and Tea Tree Oil programs and current activities include establishing a coordinated industry extension team, on-farm visits and guidelines for pest management, online dissemination of research outcomes, and adapting events to meet the needs of growers severely impacted by recent floods in the Northern Rivers.
A coordinated approach to extension
At the beginning of this year, AgriFutures Rice Program launched the Rice Program RD&E Plan 2021-2026, which focuses on achieving a water productivity target of 1.5 tonnes of rice per megalitre of water by 2026 to future proof the industry.
A coordinated industry extension approach was announced as part of this plan which brings together Rice Extension and SunRice Grower Services into a single industry extension team to increase the adoption of outputs from rice research. The new team is overseen by Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL) and will focus on supporting growers to adopt technologies and best practice management to increase rice growers’ profitability now and into the future.
The revamped Rice Extension website, powered by SunRice, AgriFutures Australia and Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA), is strengthening the coordinated extension approach. The website is a collaborative space where rice growers can find resources that support the application and adoption of new research on their farm.Visit Rice Extension
Extension ‘gamechanger’ to combat new pests
In February 2021, the Australian ginger industry saw its first infestation of fall armyworm in Bundaberg which quickly spread across most parts of Australia, including all ginger growing regions, presenting a looming threat for the industry requiring immediate action.
In response, the AgriFutures Ginger Program expanded investment into the Ginger Extension Coordination project (PRJ-017740), led by the Australian Ginger Industry Association, to swiftly harness the expertise of fall armyworm specialist and agronomist, Bhargav Rayeni.
Bhargav visited ginger farms across South East Queensland to show growers how to identify fall armyworm and then how to control it, particularly in its early stages of development. Bhargav also led the development of a guide for growers that outlines the available products to combat fall armyworm, matched with the timing of the crop, the appropriate application rate, and the withholding period.
Quick action taken by the Australian Ginger Industry Association and AgriFutures Australia has meant that not only are crops being closely monitored for the pest – farmers are also prepared for the new incursions and equipped with the knowledge and tools to keep an outbreak under control.
New investment plans are currently underway to ensure valuable extension services like this continue to be provided for the ginger industry.