SARDI: Ross Ballard.
Researchers and agronomists need to be brought up-to-date with the latest findings in nitrogen fixation research.
The conference was held in Adelaide from Sunday 28 September to Thursday 2 October 2014.
The objective of the project was to host the 17th Australia Nitrogen Fixation Conference at the Plant Research Centre in Adelaide, with SAGIT sponsorship funding the attendance of nitrogen fixation specialist Professor Euan James, from the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland, as well as the conference field tour.
In the field
Several SAGIT, GRDC and SARDI legume research projects in the Mid-North were featured on the field tour, including pea variety and inoculation trials, variety and agronomy trials and the Hart Field Site.
Presentations addressed emerging issues including the detrimental impact of herbicide residues on legume nitrogen fixation, likely benefits gained from non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation, improving the survival of rhizobia on seed, the solubilisation of phosphorus by some strains of rhizobia in New Zealand, and the gaps pertaining to the practices and knowledge of nitrogen fixation and inoculation by Australian farmers.
The SAGIT-funded keynote speaker, Euan James, spoke about a diverse group of recently discovered nitrogen fixing bacteria that may present
future opportunities for grain growers.
The Beta-rhizobia can form nodules on legumes but are not related to the rhizobia currently used in commercial inoculants.
Two other keynote speakers, Professor Barbara Reinhold-Hurek, from the University of Bremen, Germany, and Dr Michael Russelle, from the US
Dairy Forage Research Centre, also presented at the conference.
There were 59 presentations delivered at the conference from Sunday 28 September to Thursday 2 October.
There was representation from seven countries, with 71 delegates attending the conference. Of those, 70 per cent were from Australia and
the remaining 30 per cent were from countries including New Zealand, the UK, Germany, USA, South Africa and Botswana.
All feedback from delegates was very positive.
Value for growers
A large contingent of delegates from New Zealand provided a forum for interaction between Australian and New Zealand researchers, creating an
opportunity to widen the scope of research collaborations.