Crop trials to provide insight
Birchip Cropping Group’s sowing program started in mid-march and wheat and canola trial crops are now well established at the Longerenong research site as a result of irrigation.
Wheat trials have been sown as part of a Grdc-funded project investigating the development of crop-management packages for early-sown, long-season wheat varieties.
Each of the eight varieties, which are current and breeding lines, will be sown at four different times, and be subject to assessment during the season.
Each variety is sown at the four timings and irrigated to ensure it gets established as required to determine the optimum time for sowing to avoid frost and heat events later in the season.
Once the optimum sowing time has been determined, the roll-on benefits include improved logistics at sowing and harvest and a more balanced risk profile for the farm business.
While sowing is about to get underway for Wimmera growers, the heavy stubble loads as a result of last year will be a challenge.
There has been more burning this season as it is perceived to be the easiest way to manage the heavy stubbles effectively. Another key strategy is to sow at a 15 to 19-degree angle to last year’s sowing rows, which improve seeder efficacy.
More information on managing heavy stubble loads can be found on the Grdcfunded stubble initiative website – thestubbleproject.wordpress.com.
The heavy stubble loads might also affect pre-emergent herbicide efficacy.
BCG manages the heavy stubble loads by sowing perpendicular to the previous year and increases water rates to ensure there is good penetration to weeds. Farmers are encouraged to do the same this year. It is also the cheapest input to improve efficacy.
CSIRO monitoring has reported an increase in mouse activity in Hopetoun and Horsham areas.
BCG trials are replicated four times to allow statistics to be carried out, so if mice damage trials it jeopardises the results and the research can soon become redundant for one season, particularly time of sowing trials.
As a result, BCG staff members are being vigilant with mice baiting, as should growers. Stubble and fence lines are great for harboring mice, so control of areas where there is known activity is critical.