ON THE LAND GRDC up­date in Corowa

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Grow­ers and ad­vi­sors at the Grains Re­search De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (GRDC) Re­search Up­date in Corowa this Feb­ru­ary will hear the lat­est in lo­cal re­search on re­tain­ing stub­ble.

River­ine Plains Inc is a grower group ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing the pro­duc­tiv­ity of broad­acre farm­ing sys­tems in north-east Vic­to­ria and south­ern New South Wales. The group is one of 16 farm­ing sys­tems and re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in GRDC’s flag­ship stub­ble in­vest­ment, ‘Main­tain­ing prof­itable farm­ing sys­tems with re­tained stub­ble.’

The in­vest­ment, which fin­ishes in June 2018, is driv­ing ex­plo­ration of is­sues that im­pact the prof­itabil­ity of re­tain­ing stub­bles across a range of en­vi­ron­ments in south­ern Aus­tralia. The aim is to de­velop re­gional guide­lines and rec­om­men­da­tions that as­sist grow­ers and ad­vis­ers to con­sis­tently re­tain stub­bles prof­itably.

River­ine Plains Re­search and Ex­ten­sion Of­fi­cer Dr Cas­san­dra Schefe said the group es­tab­lished four large, com­mer­cial scale field tri­als at Dookie, Yar­ra­wonga, Henty and Coreen/Corowa (‘Fo­cus Farms’).

“These trial sites com­pared dif­fer­ent stub­ble man­age­ment prac­tices and plant es­tab­lish­ment, growth and yield,” Dr Schefe said.

“Smaller tri­als also eval­u­ated the im­por­tance of timing of ni­tro­gen (N) ap­pli­ca­tion, plant growth reg­u­la­tors, row spac­ing and va­ri­ety se­lec­tion in op­ti­mis­ing pro­duc­tion in stub­ble re­tained sys­tems.

“The large plot field tri­als were al­ways placed into a cereal stub­ble, so the sites didn’t con­tinue in the same lo­ca­tion ev­ery year, but were placed in dif­fer­ent pad­docks to main­tain the same ro­ta­tion po­si­tion, with the trial crop be­ing sown into wheat stub­ble.”

Dr Schefe said while the trial re­sults can­not be di­rectly com­pared across sea­sons (2014 to 2017), the ef­fect of dif­fer­ent stub­ble man­age­ment tech­niques can be re­viewed across years to de­ter­mine if any sin­gle ap­proach ap­pears to con­sis­tently yield bet­ter.

“Gen­er­ally, across the past four sea­sons stub­ble man­age­ment has not been a key driver of yield, ex­cept for stub­ble height at Dookie, and ad­di­tion of N at sow­ing at Yar­ra­wonga and Henty in 2014,” she said.

“This gen­eral lack of ef­fect may be largely due to ex­treme weather through some of the grow­ing sea­sons, be­ing heat stress in Oc­to­ber 2015, and wa­ter­log­ging and high cloud cover in win­ter and spring 2016, which would have over­rid­den any ef­fects of stub­ble man­age­ment on yields.

“The timing of flow­er­ing had a strong im­pact on the de­gree to which these two fac­tors in­flu­enced fi­nal crop yields”

A key River­ine Plains Inc project find­ing is that stub­ble man­age­ment can di­rectly in­flu­ence flow­er­ing date, which Dr Schefe said may be of value as a risk man­age­ment strat­egy to spread the risk of frost dam­age or wa­ter stress in a dry spring.

“This find­ing is de­pen­dent on other fac­tors though, with the high fre­quency of frosts in 2017 mean­ing that frost dam­age was likely to oc­cur over a range of flow­er­ing dates.

“The im­pact of stub­ble man­age­ment has cer­tainly dif­fered ac­cord­ing to site and sea­son over the past four years.

“It is im­por­tant to view these re­sults within the con­text of the sea­sonal con­di­tions. There­fore, the most pro­duc­tive and prof­itable ap­proach to stub­ble man­age­ment may change ac­cord­ing to the sea­son.”

Dr Cas­san­dra Schefe will ad­dress the one- day GRDC Re­search Up­date at Corowa on Thurs­day 15 Feb­ru­ary 2018. Other speak­ers in­clude Roger Lawes from CSIRO on Un­der­stand­ing the ba­sis be­hind the yield gap and Ro­han Brill from NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries on crit­i­cal agron­omy man­age­ment points for op­ti­mis­ing canola prof­itabil­ity.

Go to www.grdc.com.au/events/list/2017/02/ grdc-grains-re­search-up­date-corowa for the full list of speak­ers and to reg­is­ter.

Dr Cas­san­dra Schefe

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