Central to the success of the National Variety Trials (NVT) program is the operational structure that provides an excellent communication framework for parties involved.
The NVT operational workflow between parties and advisory groups is shown in Figure 1, together with the legal agreements governing the processes within the NVT program. The legal agreements document the protocols covering key activities of the program.
The NVT program evaluates 10 crop types: wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, lupins and oats - and its first summer crop, sorghum. About 250 near-release breeder lines are evaluated each year.
Breeders are invited to submit close-to-release seed lines to the NVT program.
These lines must meet NVT acceptance criteria as being available for commercial purchase after two years of NVT testing.
Most of the NVT trial sites are located on growers' properties across Australia, identified to meet soil type, rainfall, rotation and crop production criteria representative of a district.
Trials are overseen by independent service providers who manage the trials according to standardised national protocols.
To ensure the trials deliver to the highest possible standard, they are audited during the year. If they do not meet the standards, data from the trial will be isolated or 'quarantined' from public release.
Data analysis expertise for the NVT is provided by the Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) national program, which is a GRDC investment.
NVT Online is the primary data delivery platform for the program. This website generates reports, graphs and tables from data within the NVT database.
The Google Map delivery system enables all crop-specific information (including trial results, sowing guides, disease ratings, End Point Royalty and so on) for an entire state to be viewed.
The data can be accessed using the interactive Long Term MET (Multi Environment Trial)Yield Reporter tool on the website.
Users can dial-up regions, species and varieties of interest and compare the performance of varieties.
The NVT team strives to provide industry-best information for growers and advisers to inform their variety selection decisions.
Complementing the NVT Online resource, state-based sowing guides are generated each spring using available data from the database.
The NVT trial system and database will continue to evolve as new technology, expertise and methods of data analysis are developed. The NVT team strives to provide industry-best information for growers and advisers to inform their variety selection decisions.
Local intelligence guides NVT operations
Stakeholder involvement plays an essential role in the operation of the NVT.
Through the NVT advisory committees (NACs), an effective industry-based advisory and consultative mechanism has been established to provide advice and support to NVT management.
Comprising regionally based growers and advisers from across Australia (see Figure 2), as well as local trial managers, the 11 NACs provide advice on issues such as the location and number of trial sites, changes to trial protocols, and nomination and retention of commercial varieties.
Members of the committees are drawn from grain production areas around Australia (as shown in Figure 2).
The Western Australian NAC is the largest and comprises representation from each of the state's grain production subregions, ensuring a coordinated approach to the NVT program in the west.
The NACs also help guide the local trial managers on the best options for keeping the trials free of pests, weeds and diseases, and they act as a sounding board for suggested NVT practice change and new concepts.
Growers and advisers have an intimate understanding of the farming systems, conditions, constraints and opportunities that are unique to each region and being able to utilise that local intelligence in establishing protocols for specific regions is incredibly important.
GRDC NVT senior manager Sean Coffey says industry input into the operation of the NVT program is highly valued.
"Growers and advisers have an intimate understanding of the farming systems, conditions, constraints and opportunities that are unique to each region and being able to utilise that local intelligence in establishing protocols for specific regions is incredibly important," Mr Coffey says.
Mr Coffey also says that GRDC NVT staff are the first point of call for growers and other industry personnel wishing to comment on or seeking further information about NVT.
More information: NVT Online Contact Us