Global Agriculture

New reports highlight best grain variety choices for southern Australia

12 April 2023, AU: Growers and advisers across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania can now use the latest results on the performance of different grain varieties – incorporating results from the 2022-23 harvest – to help them choose the best variety for their situation.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) National Variety Trials (NVT) Harvest Reports contain yield, disease resistance/susceptibility and grain quality results.

The six reports for the southern region cover: Eyre Peninsula; Northern Victoria; Mallee SA and Victoria; Central SA; High Rainfall SA, Victoria and Tasmania; and Wimmera and Upper South East SA.

For GRDC Southern Panel member and research agronomist Andrew Ware, the Harvest Reports are a useful resource that help growers and advisers make more informed decisions when choosing what crop variety to plant.

“The Harvest Reports show us the potential of some of the new varieties and how they can perform in a really good year, like 2022,” he says.

“You can use this information and compare it to a year like 2020 where we didn’t have anywhere near that sort of finish.”

“If you can grow a variety that yields well in both those scenarios – and there are varieties that can do that – then you have a lot of confidence that your choice will do well whether it’s a good season or a poorer season.”

He adds that as race changes in diseases change so do the levels of resistance varieties have to the disease.

“The Harvest Reports have up to date information on varietal resistance to help growers plan their management strategies for the upcoming season,” Mr Ware says.

“At this time of year growers can still finesse the variety mix they plant based on the results shown in the Harvest Reports.”

The NVT is the largest independent coordinated trial network in the world. It harnesses data from more than 650 trials across 300 sites Australia-wide for 10 crop species: wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and sorghum.

Trials are sown and managed to reflect local best practice, such as sowing time, fertiliser application, weed management, pest and disease control and fungicide application in line with the NVT protocols.

GRDC NVT regional manager – south, Trevor Garnett, says the reports contain accurate, consistent, independent and timely information about existing and newly released commercial varieties.

“The reports help accelerate the adoption of new and superior varieties, ensuring growers can stay at the top of their game and remain profitable,” he says.

“For the past two years, much of the southern region has been wetter than normal, a lot normally drier areas had higher yields and a lot of disease – you wouldn’t want to judge a variety just on how it performed in those two years.

“The Harvest Reports contain data for the past five years, allowing growers to assess varietal performance across different years and seasonal conditions.

“They really are an essential tool to help growers find a variety that suits their farming system and local climate conditions, while delivering the best likely outcome under forecasted weather.”

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