Growers share crop establishment knowledge

image of crop establishment
GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, says two new GRDC publications provide consolidated information on research and grower experiences that can help them establish crops evenly and uniformly across paddocks. Photo by GRDC.

Ms Wheeler said ‘Maximising crop potential in a drying environment’ included information on a range of additional tactics, other than seeding systems, that growers had employed to achieve better crop establishment when dry sowing crops early.

“Changing weather conditions mean that growers, especially in the north and north-eastern grainbelt, are frequently attempting to sow and establish crops in warmer and drier conditions than in the past,” she said.

“However, these changing weather conditions have also often seen more frequent summer rainfall, often providing a reasonable level of subsoil moisture.

“The 18 growers featured in the booklet, mainly from the Geraldton port zone and eastern parts of the Kwinana port zone, outline what has and has not worked for them.”

Ms Wheeler said that, interestingly, a number of the growers who had tried seeding deeper, in an attempt to reach subsoil moisture, commented they would not continue this practice due to the risk of ‘furrow fill’ (excess soil moving off the inter-row and into the furrow above the seed), resulting in crops failing to emerge.

“These growers resolved to keep their seeding depth constant, as they knew that, with minimal rain on a ‘normal’ seeding depth, their crop would emerge earlier when compared with a deeper-sown crop where the furrow had filled in,” she said.

Tactics used by the growers featured in ‘Maximising crop potential in a drying environment’ include:

  • Analysing how deep the seed can be placed into moisture
  • Selecting cultivars with appropriate traits, such as varieties with longer coleoptiles, larger seeds and longer season lengths
  • Practices that allow for the accumulation of soil moisture at seeding, such as furrow sowing, applying soil wetter, stubble retention and on-row sowing
  • Practices to improve establishment on water-repellent soils, such as mouldboard ploughing or deep ripping
  • Assessing which seeding equipment provides the best establishment in their environment.

‘Seeding systems – case studies of growers in WA’ and ‘Maximising crop potential in a drying environment’ were written by CussonsMedia and are available on the GRDC website.

Latham grower Dylan Hirsch, who is one of the growers profiled in ‘Maximising crop potential in a drying environment’, also features in a recent GRDC podcast

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    GRDC Podcast

    GRDC Podcast: Crop Establishment – WA

    Geraldton and Kwinana East port zone growers are particularly interested in examining the factors that could be impacting on crop emergence.

    Date: 13 Feb 2019

    Your browser does not support this audio player. Please use your smartphone or other device or contact GRDC for an alternative way to listen.

    Listen on Soundcloud Listen on Apple podcasts

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