'Slow' wheat could be the answer

27 Apr, 2013 04:00 AM
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3
 
Dr James Hunt.
Dr James Hunt.

VIDEO: PLANTING slow maturing wheat varieties earlier in the year could be the answer to maintaining high yields in southern Australia, despite its changing climate.

Research carried out with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) shows slow maturing varieties planted earlier in the year have a better chance of delivering consistently high yields for growers in the Southern Cropping Region.

Dr James Hunt, a CSIRO researcher, said planting slow maturing varieties as early as mid-April could let crops take advantage of precious stored soil moisture.

“It turned out that those slow maturing varieties planted early could take much better advantage of that stored soil water and had quite a significant advantage over main season varieties sown in May,” he said.

“What having a slow maturing variety in a wheat program allows you to do is open up your sowing window so you can take advantage of small rainfall events when they come.

“In the last 17 years there’s been a marked decline in April and May rainfall.

“What that has meant is that we have less sowing opportunities in that main season period.

“There hasn’t been a decline in February/March rainfall - if anything it’s increased, and you can start to use that to replace our traditional autumn break.”

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READER COMMENTS

PeterMicrobe
29/04/2013 7:44:19 PM

Quality soil microbes will multiply rapidly when it rains and the new microbes job is to hold a 'lot' of the rain water and will feed it to the crop when there is no rain. The problem in Iz is that no Ag Dept know anything about soil- microbes hence the farmers don't know.
Lockhart Agro
1/05/2013 12:13:17 AM

Having worked with an Ag department for over 20 years, I have a very healthy respect for soil microbes and the many contributions they make to soil health. I also enjoyed the article on slower to mature wheat varieties and using them to plant early, when moisture opportunities present.
Brookie
1/05/2013 9:09:18 PM

All true-been early April sowing a % of crop for years in western nsw for as long as we've had long season wheats.Autumn breaks are notoriously unreliable so seeding into summer storm moisture allows us to establish wheat many weeks ahead of any useful autumn rains.Good stubble retention systems which keep soil temps cooler are critical.System must all be working eg machinery suitable for quick sowing before soils dry enabling significant acres to be sown.Early sown long wheats extract more soil P vs bag P,develop greater root mass &extract moisture from greater depth.More crop effect on weed

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Gentlemen - play the issue, not the man. That way we might all get some enlightenment. As Glenn
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If you have knowledge that "hundreds" of Australian companies are paying bribes then you should
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An excellent question by Glen.....it's just a pity more pollies do not represent their