Mapping path to high yields
CROPPING farmers will flock to Hagley this month for the annual Hyper-Yielding Cereals Project field day.
The field day will be held on November 15 at Badcock Lane at Hagley from 10am until 4pm.
The day will showcase the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s project research site which includes 1000 experimental plots.
Now in its third year, the project aims to boost the state’s production of high-quality feed grain cereals and reducing reliance on interstate supplies.
Involving international, national and local expertise and breeders, the project is working to close the gap between actual and potential yields as well promoting the value of trading quality feed grains.
Despite a climate better suited for grain production than the mainland and a much higher yield potential, the average yield of red grain feed wheat in Tasmania is around five tonnes a hectare, considered well below the potential.
Funded by the GRDC, the project is led by the Foundation for Arable Research Australia in collaboration with Southern Farming Systems.
FAR Australia managing director Nick Poole said the project was working to set record yield targets as aspirational goals for growers.
“The project has been set the challenge of increasing average Tasmanian red grain feed wheat yields from 4.4 tonnes a hectare to 7t/ha by 2020, and delivering commercial wheat crops which yield up to14t/ha by 2020,” he said.
In the project’s first year in 2016, which delivered exceptional growing-season rainfall and conditions, the results exceeded the yield targets.
Late April-sown wheat yielded more than 16t/ha in experimental plots and barley sown at the same time yielded in excess of 10t/ha.
In stark contrast in 2017 low rainfall, high temperatures and late frosts hit the grain-fill period. Despite the conditions, wheat yields peaked at 12.5 to 13 t/ha from crops sown in both early and late April. Barley yields were higher than 2016 and peaked at 11 to 11.5 t/ha, up 1t/ha on the previous year.
Mr Poole says the contrast between the 2016 and 2017 seasons was useful in determining which new cultivars and lines had potential.
In 2016, disease pressure resulting from higher autumn temperatures and a wetter spring reduced the yields of most wheat cultivars sown in early April compared with the more typical late-April sowing.
Mr Poole said in 2017, the advantages of early-April sowing showed in a wider range of wheat germplasm as later sowings were exposed to more heat stress and early sowings suffered less disease pressure.
Key findings will be presented at this year’s field day.
Keynote speaker will be Fran Lopez-Ruiz from the national Centre for Crop and Disease Management.
Dr Lopez-Ruiz will discuss why Tasmanian growers are on the frontline of fungicideresistance issues and what growers and advisers can do .
The day will include trial demonstrations and a line-up of interstate and Tasmanian speakers with topics covering grain-quality parameters, onfarm experiences and results, the use of plant-growth regulators and the influence of soil fertility and rotation position.
For details visit grdc.com.au or call Rachel Lowther on 0420 503603 or email rachel. email@example.com. BIG RANGE: The hyperyielding cereal trial involves hundreds of plots.