NVT winter crop planting underway in the northern region

Early rain paves the way for start of variety trial planting

Agronomy
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Seeding of 230 trials across 75 locations has started in the northern region for NVT .

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GRDC Officer NVT - North, Laurie Fitzgerald, says that the season outlook six weeks ago was all doom and gloom. But rain in central and western Queensland, and areas of central NSW, had significantly altered the situation for northern trials. PHOTO GRDC

GRDC Officer NVT - North, Laurie Fitzgerald, says that the season outlook six weeks ago was all doom and gloom. But rain in central and western Queensland, and areas of central NSW, had significantly altered the situation for northern trials. PHOTO GRDC

The National Variety Trials (NVT) program is off to a 'better than anticipated' start in parts of Queensland and New South Wales thanks to early planting rain.

The GRDC's NVT program is designed to provide growers with information about which crop varieties perform best for yield, grain quality and disease ratings in various geographic locations.

An overview of the NVT website and how to interpret long-term results is contained in two new GRDC videos, presented by the program's Systems Manager Neale Sutton.

Trials in the northern region

GRDC Officer NVT - North, Laurie Fitzgerald, says six weeks ago the outlook was 'all doom and gloom' in the northern region. But rain in central and western Queensland, and areas of central NSW, had significantly altered the situation.

"I am now cautiously optimistic about the winter season," he says.

"While things still need to get better in many areas, we are off to a very reasonable start with our NVT program, with trials planted into excellent or good moisture in many of our major production regions.

"All our trial sites in central Queensland have been planted into very good conditions, trials are also in the ground in western Queensland and areas of central NSW have been sown into reasonable moisture.

"But we still need planting rain to get northern NSW and southern Queensland plots underway."

While things still need to get better in many areas, we are off to a very reasonable start with our NVT program, with trials planted into excellent or good moisture in many of our major production regions. - GRDC Officer NVT - North, Laurie Fitzgerald

In summary, early and main season wheat - along with barley and chickpeas - have been planted in central Queensland at sites in the following regions:

  • Capella
  • Kilcummin
  • Jambin
  • Duaringa
  • Springsure.

In western Queensland, early and main season wheat are in the ground at:

  • Dulacca
  • Surat
  • Roma.

Canola and early season wheat have also been planted in areas of central NSW, including:

  • Gilgandra,
  • Coonamble
  • Trangie.

While early and long season wheat variety trials are in at:

  • North Star
  • Coolah
  • Somerton.

However, Mr Fitzgerald says there are still a significant number of trial sites that are yet to be planted in northern NSW and southern Queensland, where researchers are still waiting on rain.

"I realise it is early days, but we are already in a better situation than we were last winter where a number of trial sites didn't get planted because of the drought and many of those that did were later abandoned because of dry conditions," he says.

"For example, in 2018 we had nine wheat trials in south west Queensland; three didn't get planted because of a lack of moisture and six were abandoned mid-season because of severe moisture stress."

This year the Queensland and NSW NVT program comprises 230 trials across 75 locations evaluating wheat, barley, oat, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lupin and sorghum.

NVT offers in-depth variety data

The largest co-ordinated field trial network of its kind in the world, NVT is a 100 per cent GRDC investment that is fully administered by 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 Fitzgerald, who has more than 20 years of experience in grain crop agronomy and trial work, is one of a team of dedicated GRDC NVT staff enhancing co-ordination of trials and extending NVT's reach and presence in the regions.

Based in the GRDC's Toowoomba office, on Queensland's Darling Downs, Mr Fitzgerald says he is committed to making sure growers understand how the NVT program works and have access to up-to-date information about varieties.

"Selecting the right variety can mean the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable crop," he says.

"It's a key management decision which can affect everything - from sowing time to disease management, fertiliser requirements and herbicide use.

"All these elements have an effect on yield and input costs, so growers need the latest data to help get variety choice right and that's where the NVT program is critical."

Growers keen to learn more about NVT can listen to new GRDC podcasts.

Results from this year's trials will be available at the end of the season on the GRDC NVT website by searching the 'Find Trial Results' box.

More Information: Toni Somes, GRDC, 0436 622 645, toni.somes@grdc.com.au

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