NVT Victorian Winter Crop Summary 2018

Published: 13 Mar 2018

The Winter Crop Summary

This publication summarises information on current varieties of the major winter crops grown in Victoria. Sources of additional information are listed in each chapter. Local advisers are also a key resource for information relevant to individual localities. This publication aims to prompt growers to ask themselves, ‘Am I growing the best variety for my situation?’ Use it as a guide for discussion with consultants, advisers and marketing agents.

National Variety Trials (NVT)

The majority of variety trials presented in this book are sourced from the NVT program. NVT also provide data from some breeding trials to add to the information available. In Victoria, NVTs are fully funded by the GRDC and in 2017 were contracted to three Service Providers: Eurofins, Birchip Cropping Group and Southern Farming Systems.

NVTs provide independent information on varieties for growers. The aim of each NVT is to document a ranking of new and widely adopted varieties in terms of grain yield and to provide grain quality information relevant to delivery standards. NVTs are also used by pathologists to determine disease resistance ratings used in the Winter Crop Summary.

Conducted to a set of predetermined protocols, NVTs are sown and managed as close as possible to local best practice such as sowing time, fertiliser application, weed management and pest and disease control, including fungicide application. NVTs are not designed to grow varieties to their maximum yield potential.

It is acknowledged that an ongoing project of this type would not be possible without the cooperation of farmers prepared to contribute sites, and who often assist with the management of trials on their property.

Looking Forward to 2018

Late storms which frustrated growers will have bolstered depleted deep soil moisture reserves drawn down in most areas. For many, summer volunteer and weed control started before harvest was finished and will continue right up to sowing. This will help to preserve soil moisture reserves, save nutrients and minimise the green bridge for pests and diseases. The 2017 season really showed the value of a full profile with moisture quickly being drawn down as crops reached stem elongation.

Seed that was rain damaged at harvest may experience germination or vigour problems at sowing. Growers will need to conduct germination and vigour tests on retained seed to identify the best seed to use. Careful attention will need to be paid to pre-emergent herbicides, seed dressings, coleoptile length, vigour and sowing depth, to prevent poor establishment.

The 2017 season threw almost everything at growers and was a reminder that while there is a natural desire to get everything in the ground while the weather is warm and the soil moist, spreading sowing time can be a useful technique to minimise risk. Likewise, growers are encouraged to use varieties and crop types with a range of maturities and frost sensitivities to minimise damage.

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Region: West