'Early break' trial wheat crops are in the ground in WA

Cereals planted early in western region as part of national crop evaluations

National Variety Trials
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NVT wheat trials in WA will assess varieties for suitability to sow in an early break .

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GRDC manager NVT west, Peter Bird, at an early break NVT site at Kojonup, where wheat was sown on 5 April. PHOTO GRDC

GRDC manager NVT west, Peter Bird, at an early break NVT site at Kojonup, where wheat was sown on 5 April. PHOTO GRDC

The National Variety Trials (NVT) program is off to an early start in Western Australia, with all wheat crops seeded as part of 'early break' trials having emerged in April.

These GRDC NVT trials will provide wheat growers with information about which varieties perform best for yield, grain quality and disease ratings when planted very early in the season.

Instructional videos outlining 'How to navigate NVT's website' and 'How to interpret NVT data (long-term yield results) using the NVT website' have been produced by GRDC and can be seen via the GRDC's YouTube channel.

GRDC manager NVT - west, Peter Bird, says the early break wheat trials had been added to the main suite of WA NVT trials in 2017 in response to growers requiring information about which wheat varieties to grow in order to capitalise on early seeding opportunities.

"These early break trials complement the main series of NVT trials that are seeded around the ideal seeding window in May, reflecting when most of the WA wheat crop is seeded by grain growers," he says.

"The new series of trials were introduced because growers, often in lower rainfall areas, sometimes have early sowing opportunities in April but might not receive further rainfall until late May or June.

"Wheat varieties that perform well from April sowings are often different to those that produce good results when seeded in May.

"The trials also provide wheat breeding companies with an opportunity to fine-tune the breeding of varieties that suit April seeding dates."

Ten early break trials, assessing more than 20 near-release and released long-season wheat varieties, are being conducted at sites across the WA grainbelt, and not just in lower rainfall areas.

The new series of trials were introduced because growers, often in lower rainfall areas, sometimes have early sowing opportunities in April but might not receive further rainfall until late May or June - GRDC manager NVT - west Peter Bird

Mr Bird says some of the early break wheat trial sites were watered in mid-April so that crop emergence was achieved on all sites by Anzac Day (April 25).

"Wheat crops had already emerged by mid-April at the Kojonup, South Stirling and Moorine Rock sites, where early rainfall had allowed these trials to be seeded in early April," he says.

"Following harvesting and analysis at the end of the season, results from the 2019 early break trials will be available on the GRDC NVT website at www.nvtonline.com.au by searching the 'Find Trial Results' box."

The WA NVT program in 2019 comprises more than 170 trials at more than 60 locations and will evaluate wheat, barley, oats, canola, lupin, chickpea, field pea and sorghum.

Many locations are at grower group trial sites to better enable growers to view the trials.

The largest coordinated field trial network of its kind in the world, NVT is a 100 per cent GRDC investment that is fully administered by the GRDC on behalf of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government.

A national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardised trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination, NVT seeks to assist growers to optimise the profitability of their farming systems through choosing the most appropriate varieties for their growing environments.

Mr Bird, who has more than 20 years of experience in grain crop agronomy, trial management and product development, is one of a team of dedicated GRDC NVT staff that has now been appointed - enhancing co-ordination of trials and extending NVT's reach and presence in the regions.

His contact details and those of other staff can be found on the NVT Online website.

"My aim is for growers to have access the best possible data about variety choice and to make sure the trials are managed to the highest standard and are in line with changing crop agronomy practices," Mr Bird says.

"To achieve this aim, I work closely with grower groups, trial service providers, plant breeding companies, agronomists and advisers."

GRDC Research Codes: LIV00002, KAL00007

More information: Peter Bird, GRDC manager NVT - west, 0436 681 822, peter.bird@grdc.com.au

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