Map­ping path to high yields

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

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 or call Rachel Lowther on 0420 503603 or email rachel. lowther@fa­raus­ BIG RANGE: The hy­per­yield­ing ce­real trial in­volves hun­dreds of plots.

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