Location should be an important consideration in wheat varietal selection for growers in the northern region cropping belt.
While this may seem obvious to many growers, new research has found that there are significant differences in flowering time between varieties and years which growers need be mindful of to maximise production.
Research Agronomist Dr Peter Martin, Howqua Consulting, has been involved in extensive trial work supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to assess the driving factors behind these differences in flowering times of wheat varieties.
Dr Martin said the research has found that varieties generally flower in the same order across years and sowing times, but there are some important exceptions.
“There are a few varieties that shift around more than the others. Suntop is a variety that seems to behave differently in the northern environments in that it is a couple of days earlier than Gregory in places like Wagga and Narrabri, but when you get up into Central Queensland it can be 10 days, and in one experiment 20 days, earlier than Gregory,” Dr Martin said.
“That’s something that you need to consider when you are thinking about sowing Suntop. The relativity between Suntop and Gregory in Central Queensland might mean that you may delay the sowing of Suntop more than previously thought.”
Flowering time is affected by a range of factors including accumulated thermal time – that is, the total effective temperature to which a plant is exposed from planting until harvest which helps determine the various stages of crop development.
Thermal time calculations are generally effective for predicting crop growth cycles, particularly across a range of environments.
“Years can vary considerably in their average temperature which is calculated as accumulated time,” Dr Martin said.
“In 2013, the calculations for thermal time suggested that crops would flower about three weeks earlier than in 2012 and that seems to be what was observed in a lot of places.”
Download the audio clip from the downloads box below to listen to Dr Peter Martin discussing the response of wheat varieties to differing environments.
Peter Martin, Howqua Consulting
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
GRDC Project Code