The purpose of the canola NVT trials at Dandaragan is to provide growers and their advisors with independent information on the performance of newly released varieties of canola relative to the current commercial varieties grown in the area. The intention is to have two years of data available on the NVT website at the time each new variety is made available for commercial production. The 2016 trial was located in Dandaragan on brown grey sand to yellow brown sand at depth.
Managing wheat nutrient inputs for both yield and protein is an ongoing challenge with seasonal rainfall variability, management practices and other factors continually increasing yield potential. Traditional approaches to N management may be leaving crops short – evidenced by disappointing grain protein levels in recent seasons. Growers may be forgoing profit by playing the season late and not addressing crop demand early when yield potential is critically set.
Summit Fertilizers compared a number of strategies to increase nitrogen application rates to match site conditions for yield potential. Applying various N rates at multiple combinations of timing splits provides a range of contrasts to assess impact on yield, grain quality and profitability.
Effective nodulation of legumes is important to maximise the amount of nitrogen fixed by the legume; however, lupins are not usually treated with inoculant due to the presence of native inoculant in the soil. It is unclear if this native inoculant is as effective as newer types of inoculant, and the objective of this project is to evaluate TagTeam on the nodulation and grain yield of lupin and chickpea on a sandplain soil. At this trial there was no yield benefit in applying an inoculant on lupin seed. Although there was a noticeable improvement in crop establishment and nodulation when doing so (from a 2.9 rating to a 3.9 nodulation rating), it did not translate to yield. It is possible that this is because the frequency of lupins grown in this environment has been high, and therefore enough numbers of rhizobia are present in the soil to achieve suitable nodulation. The dry finish to the season may have also influenced the final yield.
The aim of the National Variety Trial (NVT) program is to generate independent information for growers and industry about newly released varieties of winter field crops relative to the current commercial varieties grown in the area. The data generated can be compared by year/s, location and variety, providing an important decision support tool for growers when assessing if they are growing the right varieties for their farm business. This trial was sown onto a high yielding, burnt barley stubble on the 24th May.
The soil type was a high quality dark Dandaragan sand/loam. Unlike many areas of the state in 2019 this site had reasonable subsoil moisture from some earlier localised rain so germinated and grew exceptionally well. The late start to the season and dry spring tended to suit the quicker varieties, however good yields were returned by all varieties in the trial.
Legumes can provide value to the crop rotation through the fixation of nitrogen, and there is the need to evaluate a wider range of legumes that could be grown in WA. Nine demonstration sites were established across the wheatbelt region as part of a GRDC project led by Liebe Group. In 2018, demonstration strips of field pea, lupin, lentil, and chickpea were grown and then followed by Scepter wheat in the 2019 season.
The West Midlands Group demonstration site was located at ‘Kayanaba’, 1 km east of Dandaragan on a clay loam soil type. The site was sown and harvested by the grower and managed similar to the remaining area of the paddock. The Gross Margin was calculated for 2018 by Farmanco as part of the overall project, while Gross Margin was calculated in 2019 based on grower supplied data, and including machinery costs at contract rates.
Matching pasture production and livestock requirements can dramatically improve animal production while reducing the cost of supplementary feeding. The aim of this trial was to evaluate a range of pasture mixes that have the potential to fill niche pasture production windows in the West Midlands region. This pasture demonstration site was located at the 2019 Spring Field Day site near Dandaragan on a sandy loam soil type. The site was established on the 5th May using a plot seeder to dry seed 12 pasture mixes, with a volunteer pasture adjacent to the site as comparison. Up to three pasture cuts were taken from each plot during the season to assess pasture production. The site was mowed in August to simulate grazing, and NKS21 fertiliser was broadcast to each treatment.
An increasing trend is for pastoral properties to send lighter animals to the southern region to be ‘backgrounded’, or grown out, to heavier weights to enable access to the live export trade or entry into feedlots for future abattoir supply. However, the success of this approach revolves around reducing the amount of weight that is lost in the transition phase during transport from station and settling into the backgrounding property. The aim of this project was to quantify weight gain/loss in backgrounding systems for the first two months following induction in the West Midlands region.
Data was collected on cattle that were transported to the backgrounding region in 2018 and 2019 from multiple properties within the Pilbara and Northern Rangelands regions of WA, with the backgrounding properties located near Badgingarra in the West Midlands region. The cattle in this study were transitioned in the May to October period of each year and individual animal performance data was collected to monitor weight gain from induction at the backgrounding property for a period of approximately two months.
The West Midlands Group (WMG) and Gallagher have recently pledged to work together to support the pastoral beef industry through the BEEFLINKS backgrounding project.
The WMG led project will focus on the collection of animal performance data that can be used by backgrounders and pastoralists to increase the productivity and efficiency of their operations.
WMG executive officer Dr Nathan Craig said the involvement of Gallagher will complement the project as its core is based on collecting accurate animal production data.
“Gallagher will provide significant technical support to assist our project officer, Charles Callaghan in being able to easily navigate the producers’ weighing systems, and where needed, to identify and fix issues as they arise,” Dr Craig said.
With data driven decision making at the forefront of the project’s outcomes, Gallagher will provide decades of expertise in livestock data collection and weighing systems, as well as access to a higher level of technical support than normally available to producers.
Early rains have brought about the establishment of Brassica plants (pictured), such as radish and canola, which are common hosts of Diamondback Moth (DBm).
West Midlands Group mixed farming systems officer, Brianna Hindle, recently spent a few days driving around the countryside identifying areas that may be prone to Diamondback moth (DBm).
Brianna placed 40 traps between Eneabba, Coorow, Calingiri, Lancelin, Jurien Bay to begin monitoring the presence of this crop-destroying insect.
Plants were identified along the roadside, then the trap was setup at the and placed. The Brassica was visually inspected for any signs of DBm larvae.
A sample of plant was taken from all sites, with each trap site located between 20 to 30km apart.
Sites were marked on the MyPestGuide Reporter app, along with photos taken of the site and Brassica plants present.
While there was evidence of DBm activity on many plants in the form of leaf damage, Brianna discovered no larvae at any sites.
The traps will be collected in a month, and samples of DBm presence on the traps will be sent to DPIRD for analysis.
Water repellent gravelly sands may require different management to water repellent sands to improve grain yield. An increase in gravel content can increase soil organic carbon, decrease the amount (kg/ha) of soil phosphorus and potassium and potentially increase leaching of nitrate. The sandy gravels of the Badgingarra area typically have gravelly soils in the higher parts of the landscape and deep sands in the valleys which may have different soil constraints for crop growth. This transect study was completed to quantify which factors are most important for grain yield in a sandy gravel soil.