The long-term success of the National Variety Trials lies, in part, in continually evaluating the program.
In 2008, the NVT program was formally reviewed to assess its performance against the objective of delivering impartial varietal information to Australian grain growers.
One of the key findings of the review was the need for a more formalised advisory and consultative mechanism for stakeholder involvement in NVT operations.
Consequently, the GRDC established regional NVT Advisory Committees.
One of the key findings was the need for a more formalised advisory and consultative mechanism for stakeholder involvement in NVT operations.
Initially there were 15 regional NVT Advisory Committees each comprising three growers and three agronomists from that region, a service provider and a representative from the appropriate GRDC Regional Panel.
There are now 11 NVT Advisory Committees.
In Western Australia, there is now one committee with two representatives drawn from each of the five Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSN) groups.
Once each year the advisory committees meet face-to-face with the NVT manager.
Additional meetings are held by teleconference if required.
Specialists, such as industry experts and biometricians, may contribute to meetings if requested.
These committees provide advice on the operation of the NVT, including issues such as the location and number of trial sites, changes to trial protocols and nomination and retention of commercial varieties.
Recent issues raised for consideration by NVT advisory committees include:
- The use of district practices for disease management
- The increase in the dry sowing of crops and its implications for NVT trials
- The development of new analysis and reporting tables for long-term variety comparisons.
The NVT Advisory Committees also help to guide the service providers about the best options for keeping the trials pest and weed-free.
Meanwhile, following a GRDC-commissioned review, and to take account of the most common disease treatment practices used by growers, new protocols for disease management in the NVT were established in 2012.
These protocols include the use of fungicides to prevent or control diseases in NVT plots.
At designated wheat (and, in South Australia, barley) sites, one of the four replicates remain unsprayed, allowing pathologists to use these controls to assist in the establishment of disease ratings.
- Visit nvtonline.com.au