Despite dry conditions, the annual AgQuip grain industry breakfast and research forum proved as popular as ever, filling the NSW Farmers shed to capacity.
Run by the Department of Primary Industries in conjunction with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the event aims to provide relevant in-season advice to local agronomists and farmers, while providing a platform to acknowledge excellence in the industry.
Topics covered at the event included the Online Farm Trials website, summer crop research and the implications of dry conditions on disease management.
NSW DPI senior plant pathologist Dr Steven Simpfendorfer said the group was currently conducting random surveys across grain growing regions to assess the levels of disease risk that could affect future crops.
"We are using the Predicta B DNA platform in a different way, testing for about 20 different pathogens, it allows us to get in front of the game," he said.
Dr Simpfendorfer said this testing had shown an interaction between common root rot and crown rot in wheat, which had significant implications for future disease management.
"We have access to supplementary irrigation at some sites so we have water to get these trials through," he said.
NSW DPI senior pathologist Dr Kevin Moore said he had recently conducted chickpea disease surveys between Curbin in central NSW and Clermont in central Queensland.
"Of 75 crops, there was no disease, no surprise in a season like this, a little bit of virus and a bit of frost.," he said.
"However drought reduces the breakdown of plant tissues, and most of the pathogens we work on survive on plant tissues. This has implications for rotations and disease breaks after drought."
Dr Moore was also recognised at the event for his 53 years of employment and service with the NSW DPI.
NSW DPI Tamworth Agricultural Institute director Dr Guy McMullen said Dr Moore's name was synonymous with the chickpea industry.
"What he has done for the chickpea industry since the Aschochyta outbreak in 1998 and his work to bring the chickpea industry to where it is today is matched by nobody," he said.
GRDC northern panel chair John Minogue said Dr Moore had made a massive contribution to the industry.
"He has a great rapport with growers and agronomists and has delivered huge research outcomes," he said.
The winner of the Brownhill Cup was also announced at the forum, with Bundella growers Ed and Fiona Simson accepting the award on behalf of their family.