Trial rev­e­la­tions

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag LIfe - BY LINDA WAL­TERS BIRCHIP CROP­PING GROUP

Ad­e­quate rain dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son has en­sured BCG re­search tri­als at Lon­gerenong have ripened well for har­vest, which started last week.

Ma­tu­rity cuts have been car­ried out on a range of tri­als in­clud­ing canola phe­nol­ogy, bar­ley plant growth reg­u­la­tors and bar­ley ni­tro­gen tim­ing.

Ma­tu­rity cuts are taken to mea­sure the weight of biomass just be­fore har­vest. These re­sults can then be used for har­vest in­dex, which mea­sures the biomass to grain ra­tio be­tween in­di­vid­ual va­ri­eties and dif­fer­ent treat­ments.

For­tu­nately, the se­vere frost ex­pe­ri­enced through­out most of the Wimmera did not af­fect the Lon­gerenong re­search tri­als, al­though a Grdc-funded man­ag­ing-early-sown-wheat trial had dam­age from a pre­vi­ous frost.

The Grdc-funded Na­tional Frost Ini­tia­tive is a five-year project aimed at tack­ling frost from sev­eral an­gles and de­liv­er­ing grow­ers a com­bi­na­tion of ge­netic and man­age­ment so­lu­tions to mit­i­gate frost, to­gether with tools and in­for­ma­tion to bet­ter pre­dict frost events.

This year, BCG has two tri­als, at Mur­toa and Co­rack near Don­ald.

The trial at Co­rack – frost prone pad­dock – is a plot sown trial with six wheat, three bar­ley and three oat va­ri­eties.

The trial is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ef­fect of dif­fer­ent crop types at three sow­ing times.

The first time of sow­ing, early, was sown on April 19, sec­ond sow­ing was on May 1 and the last sow­ing time, late, on June 1.

The trial en­coun­tered sev­eral frosts dur­ing the grain-fill­ing pe­riod in Au­gust and September, re­sult­ing in se­vere frost dam­age in the first and sec­ond sow­ing times. All crop types were af­fected in­clud­ing the oats, but this was a pre-head­ing frost at sec­ond-third node.

The trial could po­ten­tially now look at dif­fer­ent crop types com­pen­satory abil­ity – se­condary tiller­ing that con­trib­utes to yield – af­ter ma­jor frost dam­age.

The other frost trial at Mur­toa is a farmer-scale trial sown to Scout wheat, in­ves­ti­gat­ing two dif­fer­ent seed­ing rates and three ni­tro­gen strate­gies.

The trial has only ex­pe­ri­enced mild frosts lead­ing up to Novem­ber, so only mild frost dam­age has been ev­i­dent.

The trial was sown into lentil stub­ble and it was ob­served that where stub­ble load was high, frost dam­age was more se­vere.

Past re­search has shown high stub­ble loads in­crease the sever­ity and du­ra­tion of frosts.

This is be­cause the stub­ble re­duces the amount of heat cap­tured in the soil and re­sults in the po­ten­tial for more se­vere and longer frosts.

Grow­ers should be aware, how­ever, un­der se­vere and fre­quent frost events, the ben­e­fits of stub­ble re­duc­tion to mit­i­gate frost could be less be­cause it only in­flu­ences tem­per­a­ture slightly.

Both tri­als have had an­the­sis cuts un­der­taken and are cur­rently un­der­go­ing flo­ret steril­ity scor­ing to as­sess the amount of frost dam­age present.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the GRDC Na­tional frost tri­als or other tri­als, peo­ple can call BCG on 5492 2787.

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