Select the right variety to sow early
Date: 01 Apr 2015
Time of sowing trials in south west Victoria over four years have showed that sowing in the last week of April and first week of May gives the highest wheat yields.
CSIRO research team leader James Hunt said the key to sowing early is selecting the best variety to suit the time of sowing.
“Sowing within five days of the optimal sowing window will give the best results, so growers who want to sow a majority of their wheat program within its optimal window can do so by choosing a range of varieties including fast and slow spring wheats and winter wheats,” he said.
Trials were conducted across Victoria including Quambatook, Westmere, Inverleigh, Hamilton and by Baker Seed Co at Rutherglen.
Trials by BCG and FAR Australia at Quambatook compared crops sown on April 1 and May 6. Of all varieties sown on April 1, Wedgetail and Rosella were the best performers, with spring wheats Lancer and Scout severely damaged by several frost events.
“This shows the importance of lining up the sowing date with the variety. Spring wheats sown too early had headed early in the season so were hit hard by frost, whereas winter wheats were held back by their vernalisation (cold) requirement so were less susceptible to frost in July and August,” Dr Hunt said.
Wedgetail sown on April 1 out-yielded Scout sown on May 6 by 0.3t/ha, demonstrating that winter wheats can succeed in the Mallee. Slow-maturing spring wheat Lancer yielded the highest out of all varieties sown on May 6, a result likely due to its slower maturity meaning it escaped flowering frost in mid-September.
Time of sowing trials were conducted by SFS and FAR Australia at Westmere, Inverleigh and Hamilton with three to four sowing dates and six to eight varieties at each site.
Beaufort, a slow-maturing spring wheat, was the best performer of the feed wheats, with Trojan and Derrimut giving the highest yields of the milling wheats (Table 1).
Table 1: Western Districts best performers in time of sowing trials
|Location||Highest Yield||Ideal Sowing Date|
|Inverleigh||5.0||4.8||4.7||April 28||May 12||May 12|
|Westmere||6.3||5.8||5.7||May 8||May 8||May 8 - May 21|
|Hamilton||6.3||6.4||6.5||May 16||May 16||May 16|
A key barrier to sowing earlier in south-west Victoria is Septoria tritici blotch (Zymoseptoria tritici). Grazing or furrow applications of flutirafol were shown to have a significant effect on infection severity, equivalent to a foliar fungicides at Z31 (Figure 1).
The highest yields in the trials conducted by Baker Seed Co in north-east Victoria came from sowing at April 29 with slow to mid-fast maturing spring wheats, with earlier sowing dates severely infected by Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus and lower yields for later sowing dates.
“The results of the Rutherglen trials demonstrates the importance of aphid control when sowing early, especially in years such as 2014 where warm May conditions resulted in later persistence of aphids. Wheat sown early need to be treated with an appropriate seed treatment and backed up with a foliar insecticide,” Dr Hunt said.
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