Seed set for the future

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Tasmania Institute of Argiculture technical officer Reecca Fish seeds six canola lines into a trial site at Cressy, Tasmania

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture technical officer Rebecca Fish seeds six canola lines into a trial site at Cressy, Tasmania, as part of research to optimise grain yields in the high-rainfall zone.

PHOTO: Clarisa Collis

Seeding is also a busy time on research sites around the country as new varieties and breeding lines are put through their paces.

Typifying the activity is Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) technical officer Rebecca Fish, who has seeded six canola lines into a trial site at the Cressy research station in the state’s Northern Midlands region.

The trials are part of GRDC-funded research across the country to lift the productivity and profitability of high-input cropping systems in the high-rainfall zone (HRZ). TIA research fellow Dr Angela Merry says the 2017 work, in which oilseed lines were sown at three different times – 28 April, 11 May and 4 June – aims to determine whether long-season canola varieties are better suited to the HRZ than their short and mid-season counterparts.

Dr Merry, who oversees the Tasmanian trials, says the trial work contributes to a research project led by Agriculture Victoria’s Penny Riffkin – ‘Optimising the yield and economic potential of high input cropping systems in the HRZ of southern Australia’. The project, looking at both canola and wheat, also includes trials in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. “Tasmanian data provides an important insight into the phenology, physiology and yield performance of canola lines. The unique environment here, with different day lengths and temperatures, helps tease apart our understanding of what drives canola yields in the HRZ,” Dr Merry says.

In addition to the canola trial, TIA researchers are exploring the radiation use efficiency of wheat lines with varying degrees of leaf erectness in trials sown at Cressy this season through the same research project. “The thinking is that wheat lines with erect instead of floppy leaf structure might be better suited to high-rainfall-zone growing areas because they capture more solar radiation, which potentially increases grain yields,” she says.

GRDC Research Code DAV00141

More information:

Angela Merry,
angela.merry@utas.edu.au

Rebecca Fish,
rebecca.fish@utas.edu.au

See also: Kaleidoscope of weather patterns shapes season and Tasmania's long start