Digging into research

February 08, 2018

Riverine Plains research and extension officer Dr Cassie Schefe will present the group's latest findings in Corowa on February 15.

An upcoming research update will provide growers and advisors with results from the latest in local research on retaining stubble.

The Grains Research Development Corporation research update in Corowa on Thursday, February 15, will feature presentations from Riverine Plains Inc and the CSIRO.

With a focus on exploring the issues that impact the profitability of retaining stubble across a range of environments in southern Australia, the research is aimed at developing regional guidelines and recommendations that assist growers and advisers to consistently retain stubbles profitably.

Riverine Plains research and extension officer Cassandra Schefe said the group established four large, commercial scale field trials at Dookie, Yarrawonga, Henty and Coreen/Corowa to compare different stubble management practices, plant establishment, growth and yield.

‘‘Smaller trials also evaluated the importance of timing of nitrogen application, plant growth regulators, row spacing and variety selection in optimising production in stubble retained systems,’’ Dr Schefe said.

‘‘The large plot field trials were always placed into a cereal stubble, so the sites didn’t continue in the same location every year, but were placed in different paddocks to maintain the same rotation position, with the trial crop being sown into wheat stubble.’’

Dr Schefe said while the trial results could not be directly compared across seasons, the effect of different stubble management techniques could be reviewed across years to determine if any single approach appeared to consistently yield better.

‘‘Generally, across the past four seasons stubble management has not been a key driver of yield, except for stubble height at Dookie, and addition of nitrogen at sowing at Yarrawonga and Henty in 2014,’’ she said.

‘‘This general lack of effect may be largely due to extreme weather through some of the growing seasons, being heat stress in October 2015, and waterlogging and high cloud cover in winter and spring 2016, which would have overridden any effects of stubble management on yields.

‘‘The timing of flowering had a strong impact on the degree to which these two factors influenced final crop yields.

‘‘It is important to view these results within the context of the seasonal conditions. Therefore, the most productive and profitable approach to stubble management may change according to the season.’’

Dr Schefe will address the one-day GRDC Research Update at Corowa RSL on Thursday, February 15 from 9am to 3.30pm.

Other speakers include Roger Lawes from CSIRO on understanding the basis behind the yield gap and Rohan Brill from NSW Department of Primary Industries on critical agronomy management points for optimising canola profitability.

■For a full list of speakers or to register visit:

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