More rain falls than last sea­son

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life - BY CIARA CULLEN

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.

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