GRDC has released the 2023 Victorian and Tasmanian Crop Sowing Guide to help growers decide the best crop variety for their situation.
Every year GRDC, in conjunction with Agriculture Victoria, develops the sowing guide that details information on current varieties of the major winter cereal and pulse crops for Victoria, and this year Tasmania has been included for the first time.
GRDC Manager National Variety Trials (South) Trevor Garnett explains the guide draws on results from the National Variety Trials (NVT) program which is updated annually drawing on the previous year’s results.
“The sowing guide really is the definitive source of all the information growers need to choose the most suitable variety for any given location and situation,” Mr Garnett says.
The NVT program is the largest independent co-ordinated trial network in the world. Across Australia each year, GRDC manages more than 650 trials, sown at over 300 locations for 10 crop species.
Simon Mock, an agronomist based in Victoria, uses the results from the guide to help advise his grower clients.
“I look through the guide to give me up-to-date information on yields and disease resistance, and other characteristics for the variety like lodging and sprouting ratings and grain quality,” he says.
“It’s important to look at trial results from across different years to see how the variety performs in different seasonal conditions.
“You also need to take into consideration that new varieties may not have been trialled across a whole range of seasons yet.
“If you are having a decile ten year like we are this year, you need to keep that in mind – we are not going to have a season like this every year.”
As a member of the Wimmera NVT Advisory Committee, Mr Mock advises on which varieties should be included in the trials, and their treatments and locations.
He adds that one of the major benefits of the NVT is its independence from outside influence.
“Trials are conducted in a fair way and there is a rigorous approach that ensures trials meet certain criteria related to accuracy and consistency,” says Mr Mock.
The sowing guides include NVT yield and disease resistance results for the past five years as well as information on crop quality attributes and other agronomic considerations.
The 2023 edition covers wheat, barley, oat, triticale, canola, field pea, lentil, faba bean, lupin, chickpea and vetch varieties.
“We release the sowing guide in spring to ensure growers can access the past year’s results in time to make variety decisions for next season and in time to source the seed they want,” says Mr Garnett.