Which wheat for WA growers?

LIFE is full of choices and making the right one can earn you many more dollars. This old adage gets a new lease of life with new research that illustrates how the grower can leverage a difference of hundreds of dollars per hectare in returns simply through the correct selection of wheat varieties to maximise yields and achieve specific quality parameters.

The research, conducted by Agritech Crop, evaluated the agronomic performance of released and soonto- be-released WA and eastern states wheat varieties under best practice management systems. The aim is to provide growers with management packages that will help improve grain quality for end users and to make recommendations to growers based on profitability.

Each year of the project, 25 varieties were trialed at a low-, medium- and high-rainfall site in the central wheatbelt. The trials involve two times of sowing (T1 early to mid-May, T2 early June), following a range of district practice rotations. Each sowing time was evaluated under a plus and minus fungicide regime to determine the effect on yield and quaJity.

Fungicide regime

Many Western Australian- bred and some eastern states- bred wheat varieties often show significant, economic yield responses to timely application of a foliar fungicide for the control of a complex of leaf rust (Puccinia recondita) and Septoria nodorum.

The search for best performance took into account protein, hectolitre weight and screenings and allocated a grade based on AWB varietal classification. This was then combined with the grain yields of each variety in order to calculate a $ return per hectare using the AWB Golden Rewards payment system.

The researchers stress that simple figures can indicate only general trends which should be considered part of an overall strategy, rather than used alone to make decisions on variety selection.

Detailed results from the trials are available at the Agritech web site: http://agritech.com.au This research is being continued as part of a new GRDC project. Results for this season's trials will be available in December to assist growers with the decision of which seed to retain for 2002.

Program 1.6.3 Contact: Mr Ashley Bacon 08 9295 6661 email abacon@agritech.com.au