Cereal and pulse growers in the Mallee will have the opportunity to hear about the latest farm practices being adopted to help mitigate frost damage to crops at a two-hour field day near Ouyen on Thursday 30 August.

Leading Western Australian 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 Western Australia’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 hear about the likelihood of similar frost events in the area. They will also learn of opportunities to manage frost risk such as changing stubble height in frost-prone landscapes, variable rates of nitrogen for canopy management, effect of sowing rates and sowing dates and tailoring crop varieties or growing pasture in frost-prone areas.

Dr Biddulph said the frost season has extended.

“Crops are more advanced in late winter and spring partly because our autumns are warmer.”

“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.”

Dr Biddulph leads a range of national frost research projects with investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

He has more than 15 years’ experience and is currently focussing his research on the effects of late frosts on wheat and barley crops in medium and low rainfall environments.

Dr Biddulph’s background includes cereal physiology and agronomy and he leads research aimed at evaluating different breeding lines of cereals for frost damage.

Ms Delahunty is undertaking her research into frost damage in pulses in the Mallee. She is also completing her PhD on high temperature tolerance of lentil breeding lines.

The field day will start at 8:30am at the Southern Pulse Agronomy field site, 12 kilometres northwest of Ouyen, near the intersection of North West Road and Parallel Road.

Enquiries to Heather Drendel, Agriculture Victoria Hopetoun, on 0427 868 705.