LOOKING to alternate crops and innovative research might be the key to keeping the grain industry on the front foot.
On day one of the three-day Australasian Grain Science Association Conference in Wagga more than 100 participants learned about the importance of quality.
Maintaining quality across the entire growing, storing and marketing system was highlighted and there was also plenty of talk about cashing in on the promising market for pulses.
Co-chairman of the 68th Australasian Grain Science Conference, professor Chris Blanchard said the Riverina had a long history pertaining to grain quality. He identified the work which was started about 125 years ago in Wagga to foster the work of William Farrer.
In fact, this name is still present in many of Wagga’s landmarks today and is associated with sporting leagues and establishments in the region.
Mr Blanchard said it was great for Wagga to host the industry conference which moves around various different locations. “We have had a really good turnout and there are people from as far away as Perth and Queensland, the Philippines and New Zealand,” he said.
Speakers weren’t afraid to tackle tough subjects affecting the industry and the demand for pulses and alternative crops was on the agenda too.
Cracker of a crop
THE days of chips and dip could are being rivaled by crackers and Obela hommus. And chances are if you have eaten this brand of hommus you have consumed Australian Desi chickpeas.
Whether you like hommus or not the potential for pulses in the agricultural system can’t be underestimated.
This was the message from AGT Foods chief executive officer Peter Wilson of Toowoomba at the 68th Australasian Grain Science Conference in Wagga.
Mr Wilson did have a chuckle when the association with header fires, and harvesting of pulses was raised, however, his facts and figures stacked up well for pulse crops.
In drawing on Australia’s experience in 2016 when a good yielding chickpea crop was grown he said the future looked lucrative.
Back then more than two million tonnes of Desi chickpeas were grown.
And on an even brighter note they were marked and sold with success.
“Unfortunately we currently have a drought in northern Australia which means that all grain has been constrained, so it will be a small (pulse) crop this year,” he said.
“This crop will still be sought after by alternate markets,” Mr Wilson explained.
“The (Persian) Gulf region is still active in chasing Australian Desi chickpeas,” he said.
Mr Wilson said farming technology and sowing methods had improved so much in recent times that yield and quality was promising too.
“A farmer could be confident of putting it in the ground and getting something at the end,” he said.
Mr Wilson spoke on day one of the conference at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga.
Regional location draws in delegates
AUSTRALASIAN Grain Science Association chairman Joe Panozzo said holding the conferences in regional areas was beneficial.
The title of the event this year was Grain Science Transforming our Future.
“This year’s conference builds on our mandate to communicate science and innovation to the grains industry and wider audience,” he said.
“My records indicate this is the third time in the history of AGSA, and the former RACI-CCD, that we’ve held our conference in Wagga,” he said.
“The first time was in 1976, and again in 2009,” he said.