TALKING TRIALS: Farmer Peter Howlett and GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue.
TALKING TRIALS: Farmer Peter Howlett and GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue. Claudia Williams

Researchers understand issues facing our farmers

PETER Howlett is growing peanuts with better disease resistance and better ground tolerance.

These peanuts are part of the Peanut Corporation Australia breeding program, which Mr Howlett has been part of for five years.

He welcomed funders of the program, Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) and fellow farmers to his property on Tuesday to discuss challenges facing farmers and trade knowledge.

"It is good that they get on the ground first hand on my farm to see what my issues are and the surrounding area,” he said.

"A lot of these guys are from down south, so they have seen similar issues and there could be information that they have already done that can crossover on what we do here.”

While Mr Howlett is having success with the breeding program, he has lost an entire crop to sclerotinia disease and is always searching for a new solution.

"It is very expensive to control, controlling measures may work or may not and it is one of the only diseases that fits in that category,” he said.

"All of our other peanut diseases that we have currently we can control. You get faced with a situation where you have the disease and have to decide if you spend money on a maybe.”

GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue said it was important to be on the ground with farmers to understand the issues they are facing.

"The main thing is that we have an understanding of the industry in this area of what are the challenges and the issues? What are the opportunities to make the growers more profitable?” he said.

"Our aim is to create enduring profitability through investment in research development and extension.

"We are endeavouring to see what are the opportunities to do that to either solve some of the challenges that they have or on the other hand to creat a profitable opportunity for them through research.”

Peanuts are the newest of the 25 crops GRDC researches and GRDC North is extending to NSW.

"It is amazing to see the integration of the peanut industry and that is so closely related to the production and the growing of the crop, which is something that is unique to this crop,” he said.

"We got some insights that were interesting and something we could perhaps look at for some of the other crops that we do.”