Crop tri­als to pro­vide in­sight

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life - BY CIARA CULLEN BIRCHIP CROP­PING GROUP

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.

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