Better winter crop variety selection to boost farm profits

tractor sowing

The popular NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Winter crop variety sowing guide is now available to assist grain growers and agronomists make better cropping decisions to increase production and profitability.

The guide has been updated with the latest yield performance, new variety characteristics, grain quality, disease tolerance, weed management, rotations and nutrition, based on the latest research and development results from both NSW DPI and national variety trialing programs.

NSW DPI Technical Specialist Pulses and Oilseeds, Don McCaffery said following the wettest summer in almost a decade, growers have a great start to sowing winter crops.

“Late March and April so far has been dry and many areas are now looking for 20-30 mm of rain to start sowing canola in paddocks that have a good profile of subsoil moisture,” Mr McCaffery said.

“The Winter crop variety sowing guide will assist growers with informed planning, variety selection and management decisions that are right for their farming systems.”

While an invaluable tool at sowing, Mr McCaffery said the guide will also assist at harvest time as it contains the latest yield, quality and disease data to help with decisions about what varieties to keep for 2022.

“It’s important that growers choose the most suitable variety for each paddock with the right sowing time and tactical crop management to achieve the chosen variety’s yield potential,” Mr McCaffery said.

There are eight new spring wheat varieties available for the 2021 season for growers to consider.

Crop surveys through NSW in 2020 showed high levels of fusarium crown rot in wheat crops and many 2020 wheat paddocks will be sown to wheat again in 2021, so growers should be aware of the crown rot risk.

Growers are urged to test for crown rot inoculum levels in paddocks before sowing using the PreDicta® B test. This is particularly important if the paddock has a cereal crop history or cereal stubble present, and if considering sowing durum crops, which are very susceptible to crown rot.

When growers are considering any new crop variety, it is important to compare the yield, grain quality and disease resistance of the new variety with currently grown varieties.

The 2021 Winter crop variety sowing guide is available to download from the DPI website or contact your local agribusiness store, Local Land Services or DPI office for a hard copy.

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