Sorghum Researchers gather at the summer grains conference

The third Australian Summer Grains Conference (ASGC), starting Monday 7th of March, brings together almost all of the researchers working on sorghum in Australia.

This is the third conference resulting from a partnership between five summer grains; sorghum, maize, mungbean, soybean and sunflower. The conference has grown in importance and reputation with this conference attracting more than 350 delegates including researchers, advisors, funding, bodies, commercial industry representatives and growers. Sorghum is the most economically important of the five crops in Australia and our researchers contribute a significant proportion of the world’s sorghum research and development and many are world leaders in their fields. The speakers cover a wide range of topics pertaining to the crop.

In the genetics and breeding area speakers including Prof David Jordan from the University of Queensland (UQ) and Mr Alan Cruickshank from the Queensland Department of Agriculture (DAF) will talk about public sector genetic improvement and the future directions of their research. Ivan Calvert from Dupont Pioneer will talk about new innovations in private sector breeding including the development of new traits such as herbicide resistance.

Crop physiology, agronomy, plant nutrition and pathology are well represented with Mike Bell (UQ), Doug Sands (DAF) and David Lester (DAF) covering new research findings into various aspects of nutrient management, particularly pertaining to nitrogen phosphorous and sulphur. Daniel Rodriguez (UQ) will talk about tactical agronomy for the northern region, Graeme Hammer (UQ) wil discuss heat tolerance in sorghum and its likely increasing importance as temperatures rise. Vijaya Singh (UQ) will discuss her research looking at the impact of genetic variation root angle and its impact on water extraction in different soils. Andrew Borrell (UQ) will talk about lodging, its causes and genetic approaches to minimize the problems. Jo White (USQ) will talk about stalk rotting pathogens which are a major contributor to lodging.

In the technology area Andries Potgieter (UQ) will talk about using new sensors mounted on field tractors and drones to breed better sorghum while Jason Brider (DAF) will discuss improvements to the APSIM sorghum crop model to allow for variation in commercial hybrids.

Potential food and health benefits of sorghum foods for human consumption are discussed by speakers like Anita Needham (UOW) and Stuart Johnson (Curtain) and Michael Netzel (UQ). Ha H Truong (Sydney) will talk about ways to improve sorghums value for chickens.

In addition to the specific speakers a range of more general topics relevant to those interested in sorghum are covered ranging from new developments in planters and grain storage through to business management, personal health, economics and policy. It is looking to be a really great way to get new information and network with all sectors of the industry. It is still not too late to register so we encourage anyone who can make it to come along.

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