Each year across Australia's grainbelts, state-based crop variety sowing guides land in thousands of growers' letterboxes.
The guides' arrival coincides with the harvest of winter crops and therefore provides timely information and decision support on retaining seed for the next season. They have been a go-to resource for variety selection for growers and advisers over many decades.
In 2019, GRDC distributed 7260 copies to Victoria, 6720 to Western Australia, 4375 to Queensland and 6410 to South Australia. The guides are also available electronically from NVT Online and GRDC's website.
The guides prompt growers to ask whether they are growing the best variety for their location, environment and farming system.
Rob Wheeler, GRDC NVT manager - south, has had a lengthy association with the state guides and says the publications are an important resource as they provide information on variety performance and disease resistance ratings at a time when growers are planning their next winter crop seed requirements.
"The guides prompt growers to ask whether they are growing the best variety for their location, environment and farming system," Mr Wheeler says.
Print versus web
"Connectivity and access to web resources is still very much an issue for growers, so they appreciate receiving a printed resource to assist in their variety selections.
"However, it is important to remember that the NVT Online Long Term Yield Reporter provides more accurate performance data at a local level, whereas the state-based guides are limited in terms of regionalised information," Mr Wheeler says.
Grower Ben Taylor, from Condamine in the Western Downs region of Queensland, says the guides are an "important tool" to assist in his variety decision-making process.
"Combining the NVT data provided and a thorough discussion with our agronomist, we find that we are selecting very appropriate wheat varieties that are fitting in nicely with rotations, yield and disease requirements," Mr Taylor says.
"And although the NVT app and website are fantastic providers of information, I still find the hard copy format essential to have access to."
In endorsing the SA sowing guide, agronomic consultant Andrew Ware says the publication provides growers with data and guidance on the most important selection criteria for varieties.
"This selection criteria includes grain yield, quality, developmental speed and disease resistance."
Mr Ware says growers need to consider their specific farm and paddock situation and make their selection based on all available information and in consultation with their advisers and marketing agents.
Combining the NVT data provided and a thorough discussion with our agronomist, we find that we are selecting very appropriate wheat varieties that are fitting in nicely with rotations, yield and disease requirements.
Initially, the variety guides were the major communication vehicle for the state-based comparative variety trials and often compiled by state government staff in each state.
In recent years, GRDC has increased coordination and investment in these guides, in many cases in partnership with state governments and other organisations.
More information: GRDC Crop Variety Guides