Sustainable cropping systems, prolonging the impact of new herbicides and how climate variability could impact southern New South Wales cropping systems were some of the key topics on the agenda at the annual GRDC Grains Research Update in Wagga Wagga.
The latest research findings, critical seasonal advice and information to support the grains industry through 2020 was delivered to more than 165 growers, agronomists, farm advisers and researchers at the recent two-day update.
GRDC Grower Relations Manager - North, Richard Holzknecht, says the annual grains research, development and extension (RD&E) forum played a critical role in informing industry ahead of the coming season.
"Despite the tough seasonal conditions much of the region has experienced in recent years, the grains industry remains confident about the future and committed to learning more about innovation, technology and research - and embracing practice change that has the potential to improve on-farm profitability," Mr Holzknecht says.
"In response, the GRDC's Updates offer regionally-relevant, credible and new science-based information covering priority issues, such as climate and environment variability, new technology and agronomic advice to ensure growers and their advisers have up-to-date knowledge to make informed on-farm decisions."
Key take-away messages
Some key messages delivered to growers and advisers attending the event included:
- Early sown, slower developing canola crops can access deep stored water to out-yield later sown varieties if the subsoil water is available and the spring is dry.
- Summer cover crops reduced the winter cash crop (wheat) grain yield by up to 1.5t/ha at Canowindra and 0.6t/ha Parkes. Grain yield losses were minimised by spraying out the cover crop early. The grazing value generated from the summer forage more than compensated for grain loss in mixed farming systems.
- The optimal flowering period to maximise grain yield potential and minimise effects of abiotic stresses in barley is earlier than for wheat across growing environments.
- Match optimal flowering period to growing environment to maximise barley and wheat grain potential. One variety doesn't fit all: there are no commercially available varieties that are broadly adapted across a wide range of sowing times and growing environments.
- Increasing the density of wheat and barley has been shown to improve the tolerance of these crops to competition from brome grass and ryegrass.
- A new disease risk alert system may ultimately remove the uncertainty around the timing of and need for fungicide sprays to control foliar disease in pulse crops.
- The total cost of harvest weed seed control can be relatively small in the context of the overall farming system.
- Well-known agronomist wins GRDC northern region 2020 Seed of Light Award
- Super-high-oleic safflower outperforms canola at Quandialla, New South Wales
- Outsourced seed sizing proves worthwhile for Gregadoo continuous croppers
More Information: Papers delivered at this year's Grains Research Updates.