Exploring region’s potential
Birchip Cropping Group will again sow two trials at Longerenong as part of a Grains Research and Development Corporation managingearly-sown-wheat project.
This project is investigating three key areas in the management of early-sown wheat including optimum sowing dates for varieties, rain required to establish and aid early growth of winter lines, and what sowing rate, nitrogen and grazing strategy suits some of these winter lines.
The project aims to increase confidence in adaption and management of new winter wheat cultivars and see them adopted by growers, opening up sowing windows in suitable seasons and increasing the average farm yield.
Senior research and extension manager Kelly Angel said project results had so far shown that March to April-sown winter wheats performed comparably to main-season spring varieties.
“Optimal time of sowing for winter wheats was late March to mid-april. Early sowing might present opportunities to increase overall farm profitability by spreading the sowing window without excessive risk of frost and heat,” she said.
Researchers have also established a site at Narraport, where BCG will hold its Main Field Day on September 12, and the same two trials would be sown at this site for a Mallee comparison and application.
Trials will include nine varieties of winter and spring wheats and four sowing times targeted at March 20, April 4, April 20 and May 4.
Part of the trial will be irrigated at sowing with dripper lines, with three irrigation rates of 10, 20 and 50 millimetres. The first time of sowing at Narraport was Tuesday last week.
The Narraport research site has a heavier soil type, which is fairly representative of the Birchip area and due to a dry summer the ground was hard and cloddy.
Ms Angel said half of the trial was irrigated, and irrigation treatments soaked in ‘nicely’.
“The site will be monitored over the next few weeks to record emergence dates for all treatments,” she said.
“The first time of sowing at the Longerenong site will be tomorrow.”
Most of the trial sites for 2018 have now been selected, with BCG main research sites at Narraport and Longerenong.
BCG will also host a brome grass site at Kinnabulla and Mallee NVT sites will be located at Manangatang, Balranald, Merrinee, Murrayville, Hopetoun, Walpeup and Quambatook.
The BCG research team is planning trials and developing protocols. Seed ordering, soil sampling, pegging out sites and seed packing has started for early-sown trials.
The full BCG sowing program will most likely start in a month with northern Mallee NVT sites to be sown first.
RESEARCH: BCG research and technical staff sowed the first trial for 2018 on March 20.