New tool launched to help inform growers’ crop variety choice

image of sean coffey
GRDC NVT Senior Manager, Sean Coffey, says the Harvest Reports are an exciting new addition to the stable of NVT resources, offering growers and advisers another layer of important information to help them with crop variety choice. Photo: GRDC

Grain growers and advisers across Australia are being provided with a suite of unique new resources to inform crop variety decision making.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has launched its inaugural series of National Variety Trials (NVT) Harvest Reports which provide the very latest independent varietal information on yield, quality and disease ratings from the extensive NVT program.

GRDC NVT Senior Manager, Sean Coffey, says the 16 regional Harvest Reports contain the past five years of results (including 2019) for every NVT trial across Australia, with the information presented at a local site level to support grower and adviser decision making on variety selection.

“The reports are an exciting new addition to the stable of NVT resources, offering growers and advisers another layer of important information to help them with crop variety choice,” Mr Coffey says.

“We hope these publications will be seen as useful decision support tools, underpinning selection of varieties that offer the best fit for individual farming systems and growing environments.”

The reports are designed to complement – not replace – the GRDC-supported state-based Sowing Guides, which are published prior to harvest.

The 16 regional Harvest Reports are available.

Northern cropping region reports are for Central New South Wales; Northern NSW; Southern NSW; Central Queensland; and Southern Queensland.

Southern reports cover Eyre Peninsula South Australia; Mid North and Yorke Peninsula SA; Mallee SA and Victoria; Western Victoria, Lower South-East SA and Tasmania; Northern Victoria; and Wimmera Victoria and Upper South-East SA.

The five western region reports are for Albany Port Zone; Geraldton Port Zone; Kwinana West Port Zone; Esperance Port Zone; and Kwinana East Port Zone.

The NVT program evaluates more than 550 near-release or released varieties each year, providing independent, consistent, timely and robust comparative data on yield performance, quality and disease resistance ratings of commercially available grain varieties.

“NVT represents a huge logistical undertaking, evaluating varieties for the 10 major crop types – wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and sorghum – within trials across the country,” Mr Coffey says.

“Conducted to a set of predetermined protocols, trials are sown and managed to reflect local best practice, such as sowing time, fertiliser application, weed management, pest and disease control and fungicide application.”

The largest co-ordinated field trial network of its kind in the world, NVT is a 100 per cent GRDC investment that is fully administered by the GRDC on behalf of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government.

Mr Coffey says single site results from successful trials in 2019 were finalised earlier this year and this data has been fed into multi-year, multi-environment trial (MET) variety performance analysis.

“These multi-year, rolling datasets for all crops and growing regions provide the most valuable information to support decision making around what to sow each year.

“The new Harvest Reports feature the very latest information from the 2019 harvest that has been built into the rolling datasets.”

Results and analysis from the trials harvested in 2019 across the nation can also be viewed at NVT Online.

To support growers and advisers, the GRDC has produced instructional videos on ‘how to interpret NVT data (long-term yield results) using the NVT website’ and ‘how to navigate NVT’s website’. The videos can be viewed via the GRDC’s YouTube channel.

Mr Coffey says planning for the NVT program for 2020 is well underway, with the number of trials across the nation expected to be around 650.

In the meantime, growers and advisers are encouraged to keep an eye on their email inbox, as the GRDC is distributing electronic links to the new Harvest Reports as they are published.

To ensure they are receiving the latest NVT information from their regions, growers and advisers can nominate their Harvest Report preferences via the GRDC subscription centre

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