Trial sow­ing pro­gram near­ing com­ple­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life - BY JES­SICA LEMON

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 or by call­ing 5492 2753.

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