Grain growers in Western Australia’s low rainfall zone (LRZ) have access to a new resource to assist them to maximise the potential of canola – an important break crop – in their unique environment.
GRDC has released the publication 'Golden rules for canola in the low-rainfall zone'.
GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, says the resource consolidated research on successfully growing canola in these areas and also contained grower case studies.
“Key agronomic issues addressed in the 30-page booklet include crop establishment, plant nutrition, harvesting, and weed, disease and insect management,” Ms Wheeler says.
“The section on crop establishment covers factors such as paddock selection, variety choice, time of sowing, sowing rate, seed size, seeding depth, row spacing and seed placement.
“Decisions on time of sowing – and whether it is best to sow canola early and dry, or early and after rain – are complex, as establishment depends on environmental conditions.
“While early sowing has its merits in the LRZ, years of successive dry starts have contributed to large areas requiring resowing due to poor canola establishment.”
Ms Wheeler says the canola growers featured in the case studies were from eastern areas of WA’s Geraldton and Kwinana port zones.
“The case studies detail their insights and approaches to soil amelioration, time of sowing, herbicide packages, seed size, late-season pests and more,” she says.
“A common message from these growers is the need to have a break crop, such as canola, in the rotation as a tool to help grow clean cereal crops.
“Many consider canola their best option in terms of a weed clean-up tool with the potential to also generate a profit.”
Ms Wheeler says that, given recent challenging seasons, a key focus for the growers when interviewed in 2020 was to have flexibility in their cropping programs, so they could adjust them depending on the seasonal conditions.
'Golden rules for canola in the low-rainfall zone' is designed to be a practical resource. It can be downloaded from GRDC's website and is available as a hard copy through GRDC’s Perth office. For more information and to receive a copy, phone 08 9230 4600.
Useful information on herbicide options registered for different canola herbicide tolerance systems is available in the Chemical weed control in canola bulletin, produced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, with co-investment from GRDC.
Information is also available in GRDC's Paddock Practices article Tips and tools to get the best out of early-sown canola crops.