Grains Research and Development

GRDC Update Papers

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This page contains papers from the GRDC Update series for both growers and advisers.

To download the proceedings booklets from the 2014 Updates, visit the 2014 Update Proceedings Booklets page.

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  • Impact of row spacing and populations on chickpeas

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    27.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    UQ00067
    Presented At
    Presented at the Condamine GRDC Grains Research Update by Kerry McKenzie August 2014.

    Take home message
    • Changes in agronomy can affect yield of chickpeas.
    • In general increasing row spacing may decrease yield of chickpea varieties, even in a dry season.
    • Small plot yields of 4.7t/ha achieved.
    • Amount of nitrogen fixed reduces with wider row spacing.
    • Trials being repeated in 2014 to confirm findings.

  • Sorghum yield risk vs starting soil moisture

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    27.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    CSE00055, CSA00029, ERM00002
    Presented At
    Presented at the GRDC Grains Research Update at Condamine August 2014 by Jeremy Whish.

    Take home message
    • Identify the target yield required to be profitable before planting
    • Do a simple calculation to see how much water you need to achieve this yield
    • Know how much soil water you have (treat this water like money in the bank)
    • Think about how much risk your farm can take
    • Consider how this crop fits into your cropping plan, will the longer-term benefits to the system outweigh any short-term losses.
    • Avoiding a failed crop saves money now and saves stored water for future crops
    • Not planting is sometimes the best decision.

  • Optimising performance and managing risk in faba beans

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    26.08.2014
    Presented At
    Presented at the Warra GRDC Grains Research Update August 2014 by Garry Onus.

    Take home messages
    • New varieties have allowed Faba beans to be a profitable crop in their own right.
    • Get the inoculation and establishment right and it makes everything else easier.
    • Legume nitrogen appears to be more stable in our farming systems than artificial nitrogen.
    • Have a look at the GrowNotes (http://www.grdc.com.au/grownotes) on Faba beans on the GRDC website for much more information.
    • Grow only the latest varieties to ensure the best disease and grain package available.

  • Improving fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency in summer sorghum

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    26.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    UQ00066 and DAF00004-05
    Presented At
    Presented at the GRDC Grains Research Update by Mike Bell, Warra August 2014

    Take home message
    Nitrogen fertiliser costs dominate the fertilizer budgets of cereal cropping systems across the northern region. However there is uncertainty around N fertilizer decisions (rate, placement) and the variable seasonal conditions in recent years have also raised questions about the returns on investment in N fertilizer.
    Our research is highlighting the importance of pre-season soil testing to quantify profile mineral N reserves and subsequently adjust fertilizer N rates, especially after unusually wet seasonal conditions resulted in some large gaseous N losses by denitrification. However uncertainty about yield targets and seasonal forecasts has caused growers to re-evaluate fertilizer strategies. Attempts to delay fertilizer N decisions until planting, or even in crop, to minimize risk have not always been successful due to variable in-season rainfall.
    Research is currently attempting to better define the critical soil mineral N for different target yields across the region, while also quantifying fertilizer N recovery by the crop and export in harvested grain. The effect of N fertilizer application time (pre-planting, at planting and in crop/side dressing) and product choice (urea alone or in varying formulations designed to delay nitrification and slow the release of mineral N) are being examined for their effect on N use efficiency.
    Strategies that delay N fertilizer application/release to better match crop demand can be effective in improving crop N uptake and reducing denitrification losses, but have not yet been shown to significantly improve fertilizer N use efficiency. Cropping systems where pasture leys or grain legumes have improved mineralisable N reserves have allowed reduced fertilizer N rates, improved fertilizer N recovery and reduced denitrification losses.

  • Soil structural decline and organic matter in the northern grains region

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    25.08.2014
    Presented At
    Presented at the Condamine GRDC Grains Research Update August 2014 by Ram Dalal.

    Take home message
    • Good soil structure, with large pores is required for infiltration, aeration, and root growth
    • Well- structured soil has plenty of crumbly aggregates; organic matter is essential for these
    • Northern Grains region cracking clay soils have good soil structure in their native state
    • Organic matter decline from cultivation and cropping has resulted in soil structural decline
    • Soil structural decline reduces infiltration, seedling establishment and root growth
    • Soil structural decline is also associated with surface crusting, and sub-surface compaction
    • Increasing and maintaining soil organic matter reverses structural decline
    • Rotation with fine root crops / pasture adds organic matter and improves soil structure
    • Increasing and maintaining plant residue cover improves infiltration and biological activity
    • Reducing tillage improves the continuity of soil pores and maintains infiltration and increases plant available water at sowing
    • Increasing plant available water and nitrogen supply (from soil and fertiliser) increases both water use efficiency and nitrogen use efficiency
    • Avoid excessive soil compaction by eliminating heavy machinery traffic when wet
    • For surface crusting soils gypsum and / or other amendments may be required

  • Herbicide management in the summer fallow

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    25.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    ICN00016, UQ00062
    Presented At
    Presented at the Condamine GRDC Grains Research Update August 2014 by Mark Congreve.

    Take home message
    If you are dealing with large weed numbers in summer fallow then you haven’t got your strategies for seed bank management under control.
    Widespread adoption of zero till farming has seen a species shift to weeds adapted to surface germination.
    Over reliance on glyphosate in the fallow is leading to rapid expression of glyphosate resistance.
    Integrated weed management strategies are available to manage key species present in the summer fallow through the northern grains region. Growers who have a zero tolerance to weeds producing seeds can drive down seed banks to very low levels within 1 to 3 years. Growers that permit weeds to set seed in the fallow will see herbicide resistance increase and weed numbers remain the same, or increase.
    Growers that have the weed seed bank under control will save herbicide costs; be able to use diverse tactics that would otherwise be cost prohibitive; and, by reducing the frequency of herbicide applications, will delay the onset of herbicide resistance.

  • Root lesion nematodes cereal variety and rotational crop impacts on yield and nematode numbers

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    25.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    NGA00003, DAN00143, DAQ000154
    Presented At
    The Spring Ridge, Burren Junction, Warra and Condamine GRDC Grains Research Updates July/August 2014 by Brendan Burton.

    Take home messages
    1. Know your enemy - soil test to determine whether RLN are an issue and which species are present
    2. Select wheat varieties with high tolerance ratings to minimise yield losses in RLN infected paddocks
    3. To manage RLN populations, it is important to increase the frequency of RLN resistant crops in the rotation
    4. Multiple resistant crops in a rotation will be necessary for long term management of RLN populations
    5. There are consistent varietal differences in Pt resistance within wheat and chickpea varieties
    6. Avoid crops or varieties that allow the build-up of large populations of RLN in infected paddocks
    7. Monitor the impact of your rotation

  • Root lesion nematodes cereal variety and rotational crop impacts on yield and nematode populations

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    25.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    DAV00128
    Presented At
    Presented at the GRDC Grains Research Updates in July/August 2014 in Spring Ridge, Warialda, Burren Junction and Condamine by Kirsty Owen.

    Take home messages
    Choose tolerant, rather than intolerant, wheat varieties when P. thornei is present at damaging levels, or risk reducing your yields by 50%.
    One resistant crop in sequence may not be enough to decrease damaging populations of P. thornei.
    P. thornei survived after a sequence of five resistant crops, but in very low populations.
    Management of P. thornei by growing several resistant crops is effective, and populations can be reduced to very low levels. However, on-going vigilance by testing soil for nematodes is essential when susceptible crops are planted.

  • The economics of deep Phosphorus use in marginal environments

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    25.08.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    UQ00063, CSA00036
    Presented At
    Warialda, Burren Junction and Condamine GRDC Grains Research Updates July/August 2014 by Mike Bell

    Northern grains soils are changing in response to cropping, with native fertility declining and fertiliser requirements increasing. Immobile nutrients like phosphorus (P) need to be placed to meet both seedling and older crop demands. Residual value of applied P for subsequent crops is generally good, and responses are recorded over multiple crop seasons. However, the size of the crop response varies with seasonal conditions and moisture availability, which effect both yield (P demand) and crop root distribution (whether crops can get at applied P). Starter P plays a specific role in early growth and setting grain number in cereal crops and in early vigour in grain legumes, but little P uptake is required to meet this demand. The bulk of crop P uptake comes later, to meet demands for growth, and is primarily from the top 30cm of the profile. Soil moisture will determine where roots are active and hence from where that available P is acquired. Having available P in both shallow and deeper soil layers will allow the crop to perform under most seasonal conditions.
    Deep placement of P is challenging, other than just from the perspective of horsepower and equipment needs, as it requires us to fertilise to cater for what the coming years may bring, and at rates suited to occasional applications rather than on a crop by crop basis. The key to profitability of deep P applications therefore lies in knowing that deep P is needed, understanding how crops in your rotation respond under different seasonal conditions and also knowing how long the residual benefits of deep P will last. While research is still underway to collect this information, we have attempted to outline some of the principles that need to be considered in this paper.

  • Grazing strategies and timing of stock removal from dual purpose cereals and canola

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    28.07.2014
    GRDC Project Code
    CSP00160
    Presented At
    Presented at the Wellington GRDC Grains Research Update July 2014 by Lindsay Bell.
    Region
    North

    Take home message
    Timing of lock up and residual biomass influence grain yield recovery in both cereals and canola.
    Early lock-up enables a crop sufficient time to achieve biomass levels at flowering to fully recover grain yield but lower residual biomass at lock-up can reduce crop recovery during a sensitive window around or shortly after GS30 in cereals and bud visible in canola.
    Light defoliation with sufficient residual biomass even after GS30 can allow cereal crops to fully recover grain yield in some seasons.
    To avoid risk of yield loss in canola, residual biomass levels greater than 2.5 t DM/ha are required if grazing continues after late July. A similar critical level is less clear in cereals but appears to be about 1-1.5 t DM/ha required at lock-up in mid-August.