Pre-seeding planning to manage frost risk in WA

A wheat crop sown with a mix of Wyalkatchem wheat and Yitpi wheat to reduce exposure to a frost event.

A wheat crop sown with a mix of Wyalkatchem wheat and Yitpi wheat to reduce exposure to a frost event.

Frost is a complex and erratic constraint to Western Australian cropping systems which can result in dramatic consequences to a grower’s business.
 

CSIRO climate applications scientist Dr Steven Crimp investigated frost trends dating back to the 1960s across southern Australia. His research findings show that since the 1960s:

  • WA’s frost window has widened and on average frosts start three weeks earlier and finish two weeks later in the year.
  • Consecutive frost events have increased by an average of up to three days at a time and mostly occur in August and September in the frost prone regions.
  • The frosts are getting colder minimum temperatures.

 Due to the nature of frost and its damaging effects, an integrated approach to managing it is recommended. This means complex decisions are required that involve strategically combining information on environmental, management and genetic approaches to cater to your personal situation.

Risk assessment, property mapping, crop type, variety choice, sowing time and stubble load are key pre-seeding decisions that growers can use to reduce the risk of crop losses from spring frosts in high risk areas.

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