A small town in Australia’s smallest state is about to host one big event.
Hagley in northern Tasmania will next month be a mecca for high yielding cereal crop enthusiasts from across the nation and beyond.
The Hagley field research site dedicated to assisting Tasmanian grain growers in their quest to achieve higher yields of quality feed grains will be the location of a field day on November 14.
The field day will showcase the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) ‘Hyper Yielding Cereals Project’ and the project’s research site of some 1000 experimental plots.
Aimed at boosting Tasmania’s production of high-quality feed grain cereals and thereby reducing its reliance on supplies from the mainland, the five-year project is now in its final year.
Involving collaboration with international, national and local expertise, the project is working to close the yield gap between actual and potential yields as well as using links with end users to promote the value of trading quality feed grains.
Despite a more suitable climate for grain production than the mainland and a much higher yield potential, the average yield of red grain feed wheat in Tasmania is still around five tonnes/hectare – considered to be well below the potential.
A GRDC investment, the Hyper Yielding Cereals Project is being led by FAR (Foundation for Arable Research) Australia in collaboration with Southern Farming Systems (SFS).
The project is working towards setting record yield targets as aspirational goals for growers of feed grains.
FAR Australia’s Managing Director Nick Poole says the highest yields in barley were achieved in the 2018 season, despite the presence in project trials of the disease Ramularia.
“Where this disease was controlled, irrigated crops of autumn-sown barley were achieving yields of 12.5 tonnes/hectare compared to approximately 13.5t/ha crops of feed wheat on the same site,” Mr Poole says.
“In the past two years we have seen top wheat yields pegged at 13-13.5t/ha compared to 17t/ha in 2016,” Mr Poole says.
Key findings from the research to date will be presented to growers, advisers and industry personnel attending the field day.
Keynote speaker on the day will be leading United Kingdom agronomist Patrick Stephenson who will share his international agronomy expertise and will provide an update on where the UK sits in the quest for higher cereal yields.
Mr Stephenson, who has held the title of Britain’s agronomist of the year, spoke at the Hyper Yielding Field Day in 2016 and is back by popular demand.
Topics to be covered by a line-up of experts from across Australia and New Zealand include weed control in Tasmania’s high-yielding irrigated farming systems; getting it right when growing cereals as part of a mixed farming enterprise; a mainland grower’s perspective on the quest for hyper yielding cereals in the high rainfall zone (HRZ); and the importance of plant population and growth regulation in high-yielding wheat cultivars.
Other topics include managing autumn-sown barley to achieve yields more than 10t/ha; the combinations of germplasm and agronomy that have maximised yields in trials; the role of soil moisture monitoring and variable rate irrigation in cropping systems; the importance of soil organic matter in achieving hyper yielding cereals; Ramularia disease control in barley; trading grain between growers and dairy producers; and the importance of payment of royalties in developing germplasm for HRZ regions.
The field day on Badcock Lane, Hagley, will be from 10am to 4pm, with a barbecue lunch included. Details are available via the GRDC website