Variety trials sow the way to cropping profits

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 07 Dec 2012

David Shannon with National Variety Trials sign.

Investing a little time in considering which crop varieties to sow can return a big dividend in yield and income for southern regional grain growers.

That difference can be as much as $100 per hectare, according to the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) which funds the National Variety Trials (NVT).

GRDC Trial Operations Manager, Tom Giles, says an economic assessment of new and benchmark wheat varieties grown in South Australian trials highlighted the $100/hectare difference in income between top and bottom varieties.

“Not only did this analysis indicate a large difference in margin, it also showed that in some regions selecting a wheat variety classified Australian Hard (AH) rather than Australian Prime White (APW) was costing growers income,” Mr Giles said.

“This type of analysis demonstrates why it is important for growers to carefully consider their variety choices.”

The NVT program, established by the GRDC in 2005, is designed to provide an independent variety evaluation program that accelerates the adoption of superior varieties – those with improved yield, quality, disease resistance or a combination of these attributes.

Mr Giles said grain growers were increasingly turning to new varieties of cereals and pulses and that these superior lines were meeting their agronomic and yield expectations.

He encouraged growers to take advantage of all NVT resources when selecting varieties to sow.

“Field days and NVT Online ( are particularly useful in guiding growers in their variety decision-making processes,” Mr Giles said.

Between 2008 and 2011, 181 new winter crop varieties were released in Australia, including 47 wheat varieties, 14 barley varieties and 70 canola varieties. All were included in the NVT trials and the data for them can now be found on NVT Online.

NVT Online is a unique resource, providing growers with regionally-relevant information about current and emerging varieties.

“NVT Online is regularly reviewed and improved; in the past 12 months visits to the website have increased by about 28 per cent and page use has increased by 15 per cent compared with the previous year,” Mr Giles said.
“Both figures indicate more growers are realising the value of the independent resource.”

To assist growers in their use of the NVT Online resource, as well as their general understanding of the value of the NVT initiative, the GRDC has developed a special publication.

A National Variety Trials Supplement has been included in the November-December edition of GRDC’s Ground Cover magazine and it is also available for viewing and downloading via

NVT is managed by Australian Crop Accreditation Systems on behalf of the GRDC.

Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon at a National Variety Trials site.

GRDC Project Code CAS00002

Region South