NVT a world leader in independent variety evaluation

GRDC-invested NVT assists growers to optimise cropping profitability

National Variety Trials
Wheat and barley National Variety Trials at Walgett. PHOTO GRDC

Wheat and barley National Variety Trials at Walgett. PHOTO GRDC

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GRDC investment in NVT fundamental to optimising profitability for growers and industry.

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Sound information is fundamental to making decisions, especially when it comes to grain growers' annual cropping programs.

In addition to decisions around inputs such as fertilisers and chemicals, crop and variety selections appropriate for each growing environment are vital in optimising a cropping system's profitability.

It is for this important reason that GRDC established the National Variety Trials (NVT) program in 2005.

The investment in NVT was also partly driven by the increasing commercial focus of plant breeding programs in Australia, with the NVT developed to complement these programs and provide growers with independently verified variety information.

NVT goal

Comparative variety testing had been carried out previously by state departments of agriculture, but industry changes provided an opportunity to initiate a nationwide evaluation service based on agreed protocols for the national collection of standardised trial data in a single database.

The NVT is a voluntary service to which all plant breeders around Australia are invited to submit seed for testing. Testing is carried out mainly on growers' properties, which provide regionally representative conditions.

Not all lines or varieties are tested at each location, but entries are not restricted by state boundaries. Commercial varieties that are widely grown are used as performance comparisons.

Trial management and data collection are managed by independent service providers under strict protocols, and all trial data is processed and analysed centrally through the NVT database by biometricians.

Lines and varieties are ranked by performance and are available for growers and advisers through an interactive web tool (NVT Online) and state-based sowing guides.

The goal of the NVT is to provide robust comparisons for variety performance including grain yields, disease and pest responses, and grain quality traits for wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, lupins, oats and sorghum.

The goal of the NVT is to provide robust comparisons for variety performance including grain yields, disease and pest responses, and grain quality traits for wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, lupins, oats and sorghum.

The NVT seeks to assist growers to optimise their system profitability through choosing the most appropriate varieties, using these comparisons, for their growing environments.

Now spanning 14 years of activity, the NVT is fully GRDC-invested and administered on behalf of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government.

The NVT structure has improved the use of NVT data, enabling better leveraging of related GRDC investments while improving efficiencies. It will enable GRDC to extract greater value for stakeholders from growers' invested levies.

Sean Coffey, NVT senior manager. PHOTO GRDC

Sean Coffey, NVT senior manager. PHOTO GRDC

Industry oversight

The NVT program is a huge logistical undertaking - it is the largest coordinated field trial network of its kind in the world. Industry experts are engaged from each region on regional advisory committees to provide expert advice on the operations.

Additionally, to maintain its efficacy as a dynamic and responsive program, NVT is regularly reviewed to ensure that it is delivering robust and relevant information to growers.

As a result, industry-endorsed changes are often made to the program to drive effectiveness and efficiency.

More information: Sean Coffey, GRDC, 0428 652 226, Sean.Coffey@grdc.com.au, www.nvtonline.com.au

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