Trial sowing program nearing completion
The 2017 Birchip Cropping Group sowing program is almost complete with only one time of sowing, TOS, trial left to be sown on Saturday.
The Longerenong trial site hosts a diverse range of trials this season including canola varieties, early-sown wheat and pre-emergent herbicides in lentils.
Frosts have seen temperatures at Longerenong plummet in the early hours, slowing down crop progress across the site.
Generally, an early frost will not inhibit plant growth and damage is rarely seen from a frost early in the season.
Early assessments are being completed on all trials to check for emergence issues.
BCG staff look for crop evenness across each plot and make notes of mouse damage, blocked seed rows, uneven distribution of seed throughout the plot, phytotoxicity effects due to chemical application and treatment effects such as different fertiliser rates. An emergence count on each plot determines the number of plants per square metre. To do this, BCG staff members count the number of plants per one-metre row, times by 100, then divide by the row spacing.
After this calculation has been done, it is matched to the target plant density, which was used to calculate a seeding rate.
If the emerged crop is less than the plant density there could be issues with emergence, seed stock or seeding depth. Identifying these issues now will help combat problems in subsequent seasons.
To capture early responses to treatments, BCG staff use a hand-held Greenseeker, which uses light reflectance to determine how ‘green’ a plant is.
Normalised Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI, is calculated from the visible and near-infrared light reflected by the plants.
A healthy plant will reflect a large proportion of infrared light where a plant in poor health will reflect less infrared light. Using the Greenseeker provides a good indication of treatment effects that are not detectable by the human eye.
BCG is being kept busy baiting trial sites for mice.
The Longerenong site has already received several applications to keep mice at bay.
Baiting along fence lines has been especially important because they are often heavy with mice holes where stubble cover is higher.
As crops have emerged across the Wimmera it’s time to start thinking about applying urea.
Determining the right urea rate to match soil nitrogen levels and crop nitrogen requirements can be challenging.
Where possible it is best to try to delay urea application until there is greater confidence in the seasons forecast, however, knowing soil nitrogen levels is important to ensure there is adequate nitrogen to meet growth stage 30.
To talk to BCG staff about how our trials are progressing, head along to the BCG Future Farmers Expo on July 5 at Birchip P-12 School. Details are available at www.bcg.org.au or by calling 5492 2753.