After three years evaluating 8-10 cereal varieties on his farm, Mike Doherty says you can't beat on-farm trials for selecting the varieties that best suit your own patch.
"On-farm trials have shown that, by matching the correct variety to soil type, time of sowing, correct nutrition and chemical use, we can increase yield by 0.5 t/ha in poorer years and by 1.5 t/ha in good years."
In recent trials on Mike Doherty's farm, the Tenindewa TOPCROP group in WA initiated a new design using an older standard wheat variety, Blade, as a control every third plot to test the performance of the newer wheat varieties.
As reported in Issue 23 of Ground Cover, the test strips compare results on two sites of different soil types — one red soil, the other sandplain. All other variables are the same.
Results from the 1998 growing season show that all of the new, higher-yielding varieties performed better than Blade on both sites.
"The objective of the trials is to determine which of the newer varieties perform best for specific local conditions," TOPCROP State coordinator Tress Walmsley said.
Even though the test strips are only a few kilometres apart, the top-performing varieties are quite different (apart from Arrino) between the red soil and the sandplain sites (see tables).
Contact: Mrs Tresslyn Walmsley 09 9690 2111
Trial results on red soil site, 1998
Trial results on sandplain site, 1998*Score for fungal staining with black point.