More rain falls than last season
BCG researchers have reported 2017 growing-season rain at a Longerenong research site is ahead of the 2016 growing season.
An August 14 report, before latest rain that swept across the region, showed the season seven millimetres ahead of last year.
When crunching the numbers for August 14, the Longerenong research site for the 2017 growing season had received 202 millimetres, while at the same time last year it had received 195mm.
Harnessing the opportunity to spread urea and make the most of the rain in recent weeks, Agriculture Victoria agronomy research graduate Jasmine Marsh said crop growth was excellent and the trials were progressing well.
“With the favourable conditions we have had lately, growth has been incredible. This means the team has been doing treatment sprays and assessments,” she said.
The Grains Research Development Corporation-funded project ‘managing early sowing wheat’ aims to look at a range of winter and spring wheat varieties to compare their suitability over four times of sowing.
The three spring varieties, Scepter, Cutlass and Trojan in our earliest time of sowing, March 16, are all flowering.
BCG staff have observed frost damage in the flowering Scepter, highlighting the risks of sowing varieties outside of their optimal sowing window.
Another trial that has flowering crops is canola phenology, which is funded by GRDC in collaboration with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
As phenology is investigating growth habits and rates of various canola varieties, this trial requires regular visits to the site with assessments occurring at 50 percent flowering for each variety.
When the varieties reach this date, cuts are taken at ground level and brought back to Birchip to be dried out in commercial ovens and weighed. This data is used to calculate crop biomass.
Ms Marsh said that so far, the majority of the first-sown varieties, sown on April 7, except Archer and ATR Wahoo, had reached 50 percent flowering and the cuts had been taken and weighed.
“In the second time of sowing, April 25, Diamond has already reached 50 percent flowering, with Stingray not far behind,” she said.
“Even though mice activity seems to have slowed down recently, mice damage has been observed in the canola phenology trial, with flowers being nipped off.”
The mice seem to be targeting only a couple of the varieties and don’t seem to be damaging other crops at this stage, although the site is being closely monitored and baited where necessary.
The BCG Main Field Day is on September 13 at Curyo, 25 kilometres north-west of Birchip, with the Mallee component of the ‘Managing early wheat project’ to be presented on the day.
For more information about the BCG Main Field Day visit www.bcg.org.au or call BCG on 5492 2787.