Early canola needs plan­ning

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

Sow­ing canola early in most south­ern and eastern Aus­tralian crop­ping re­gions can in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity by fol­low­ing 10 key tac­ti­cal guide­lines.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, which es­tab­lished the guide­lines af­ter an ex­ten­sive three-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Through the Op­ti­mised Canola Prof­itabil­ity pro­ject, 34 field ex­per­i­ments were con­ducted from 2014 to 2016, look­ing at the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween va­ri­ety and sow­ing date.

The ex­per­i­ments were at 14 sites, from Eyre Penin­sula in South Aus­tralia and the Wim­mera in Vic­to­ria through to the cen­tral-west slopes of NSW and the Dar­ling Downs in south-eastern Queens­land.

One of the pro­ject lead­ers, CSIRO re­search sci­en­tist John Kirkegaard, said the tra­di­tional canola sow­ing win­dow in much of the south­ern and eastern grow­ing re­gions opened in late April, con­tin­u­ing well into late May.

‘‘How­ever, chang­ing rain­fall pat­terns, dis­ci­plined sum­mer fal­low man­age­ment and im­proved no-till seed­ing sys­tems are en­abling grow­ers to cap­i­talise on soil mois­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­duce pro­duc­tion risk by sow­ing canola ear­lier in the sea­son,’’ Dr Kirkegaard said.

‘‘The pro­ject was es­tab­lished to quan­tify po­ten­tial yield and grain qual­ity ben­e­fits from sow­ing crops in early to midApril and has fo­cused on tac­ti­cal agro­nomic re­quire­ments to achieve suc­cess­ful out­comes.

‘‘We have been look­ing at va­ri­eties that are suit­able for ear­lier sow­ing and how they should be man­aged,’’ he said.

■ The guide­lines for earlysown canola have been pub­lished in a new elec­tronic Ten Tips to Early-Sown Canola brochure, avail­able at: https:// grdc.com.au/10Tip­sEar­lySown Canola

Pic­ture: Ju­lianne Lil­ley

Top crops . . . Creators of the canola guide­lines Ro­han Brill and John Kirkegaard.

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