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.
The use of two break crops in a row as a double break crop sequence has been successfully used to increase the grain yield of successive wheat crops in South Eastern Australia, and this study has tested this approach in the WA wheatbelt region.
Four demonstration sites were established in 2017 near Bencubbin, Corrigin, Miling, and Calingiri. These sites were established in paddocks with a history of root diseases or weed populations that a single break crop could not address, and which were sown to a break crop, pasture, or fallow in 2016. In 2017, a range of break crop options were grown on small plots and with the remaining paddock area sown to canola or wheat. All sites were sown to wheat in 2018.
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.
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.
To understand the financial benefit of the many ameliorations options, it is vital to know how long the productivity gains from their implementation are likely to last. In this trial, large-scale on-farm strip trials with repeated controls using grower seeders and harvesters were applied. This trial deonstrated one-off mouldboard ploughing, rotoary spading and claying.