Top 10 panel offer tips for 2017 crop
MEMBERS of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Southern Regional Panel – comprising growers, researchers and advisers – have provided some personal insights to southern region grain growers for a successful 2017 growing season.
Chair Keith Pengilley, Conara (Tasmania):
Whilst it has been somewhat of a variable start across the southern region in 2017, significant rainfall events in some parts has seen many growers sow crops early and this presents a crop grazing opportunity for those with livestock.
It is a strategy well worth considering given current buoyant prices for lamb, mutton and beef.
Deputy chair Mike McLaughlin, Adelaide (SA):
As crops start to establish, it is important to continue to think about crop. Straight visual observation of the crop as it grows is often the best way to get an early warning that something is wrong
Nutrient deficiency symptoms on leaves can suggest what the problem might be and can be followed up by soil or plant tissue tests to confirm the deficiency and suggest corrective action.
In light of the drier seasonal outlook and especially in areas where the season has commenced off the back of a moderate rainfall break, growers should adopt a cautious approach to nitrogen (N) application in cereals.
Rather than applying a large amount of N upfront, it would be prudent to monitor how the season unfolds.
N can be applied quite late into wheat and a good result can still be achieved.
John Bennett, Lawloit (Victoria): Rohan Mott, Ninda (Victoria):
Monitoring mouse numbers throughout the season will be important.
We have been, and are continuing to bait during our sowing program.
Despite this, we are still seeing damage from mice in early sown vetch and lupins, particularly around mouse holes.
Don’t succumb to a false sense of security – even if mice aren’t active through the winter months, continue to monitor your crops and if necessary prepare for the possibility of aerial baiting being necessary in the spring to prevent yield loss.
Kate Wilson, Hopetoun (Victoria):
A combination of factors have created the ‘perfect storm’, in terms of crop diseases and insect pests this year.
Large stubble loads, a carryover of some diseases, the green bridge of weeds and volunteers, good opening rains in some parts and current mild conditions have heightened the risk to crops in 2017.
Understanding what crops are likely to be vulnerable to diseases and pests and having management strategies in place in advance is essential.
Snail numbers have built up since last year and baiting should have occurred soon after the opening rains, which is when they move down from their resting places to feed.
Well-timed baiting is essential to ensure an effective kill while snails are feeding and before they commence breeding and laying eggs.
Jon Midwood, Inverleigh ( Victoria):
In the high rainfall zones of Victoria and Tasmania, April was wetter than average and slug activity has increased significantly in recent weeks.
This has serious implications, as canola crops are just starting to emerge.
Mark Stanley, Port Lincoln (SA):
With the increased area of canola going in this year, close monitoring of emerging crops for seedling pests, including slaters, millipedes, snails and slugs is recommended.
If temperatures remain high, be on the lookout for green peach aphid (GPA) as canola seedlings establish.
Bill Long, Auburn (SA):
Sowing crops at the optimum seeding depth is extremely important, so it is well worth following up on this year’s sowing programs by checking the depth of seed as crops emerge.
A simple way of determining if seed has gone in at the right depth is to take a photo of the seed depth marker on the seeder bar and compare that in-paddock with where the seed is placed in the soil.
Rob Sonogan, Swan Hill (Victoria):
Don’t forget about root diseases, such as cereal cyst nematode, take-all and rhizoctonia root rot, which are still quite prevalent in the southern cropping region and can cause significant yield loss.
From early tillering onwards, look for plants that are showing symptoms of disease, dig them up (don’t pull them up) and have a close inspection of the roots.
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