Featured topics

Winter


Winter sowing: As the days get colder and light fades earlier, we thought it would be a good time to highlight the 90 trials on OFT that focus on winter sowing. These range from sowing winter wheat varieties to managing crown rot. In addition, there are also trials which explore what to plant when, winter production of lucerne and managing frost.

Control of crop pests has become increasingly challenging with changes in farming practices and environmental conditions. OFT contains more than 40 trials that provide information on pest management issues, and include reports on trial findings dealing with...

How can the grazing of crops be managed so that both grain yield and the benefit to livestock are optimised? OFT contains more than 75 trials from the western, southern and northern grain growing regions on integrating livestock into the cropping program.

With the winter cropping season here and crops in the ground, emerging threats from disease and weeds need to be continuously monitored and managed. There are over 180 trials in OFT that have explored issues on managing crop disease, including...

Spring


Choosing the most effective foliar fungicide disease control strategy can be complex due to differences in variety resistance and impacts from seasonal conditions. OFT contains over 330 trials on fungicides and management strategies including the effects on yield for various crops, managing an array of diseases, fungicide...

Grain production losses due to weeds are estimated to be $3.3Bn with farmer costs of $146/ha (Impacts of weeds on Australian Grain Production). A management tactic to reduce impacts of weeds is to prevent weed seed set. OFT contains more than 80 trials on weed seed control strategies and management...

Managing stubbles post-harvest is an ongoing issue that growers deal with every year in their cropping rotation. OFT contains more than 400 trials on stubble retention, management and benefits. There are over 180 published stubble management trials for wheat, 40 for barley and 35 for canola.

The impacts of frost and minimising variability in seasonal profits can be achieved using a combination of management solutions, tools and information. There are over 120 trials provided through OFT covering issues on frost including: frost tolerant varieties, managing frost risk, strategies to reduce frost damage, impacts...

Summer


Managing stubbles post-harvest is an ongoing issue that growers deal with every year in their cropping rotation. OFT contains more than 400 trials on stubble retention, management and benefits. There are over 180 published stubble management trials for wheat, 40 for barley and 35 for canola.

Many different strategies exist to conserve soil moisture pre and post sowing including spraying and tillage. There are over 150 trials in Online Farm Trials covering issues that include: managing moisture variability; crop rotations that optimise moisture availability; impacts of break and summer crops; and, nitrogen conservation, including timing of fertiliser application.

Controlling summer weeds is a key strategy to conserving moisture and nutrients across medium to low rainfall cropping zones of Australia. Herbicide and tillage strategies, combating weed varieties, herbicides and adjuvants, and latest spraying technologies are included.

Soils that suffer from poor infiltration due to structure decline and sodicity can result in significant losses in productivity and decline in plant health. An amendment commonly used to treat such conditions is gypsum (otherwise known as calcium sulfate dehydrate).

Autumn


Recently published research by James Hunt and co-authors in Nature, Early sowing systems can boost Australian wheat yields despite recent climate change, has identified widespread yield benefits to the Australian grains industry from early sown wheat. Potential factors to consider include variety, seeding rate, nitrogen timing, grazing potential and yield impact, and sowing date.

Reductions in nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) are determined by a number of factors, including N leaching, losses of N from the soil as gas and crop diseases. Given the current seasonal conditions, how can nitrogen inputs be optimised for the 2019 growing season? There are more than 60 trials in OFT that contain results on NUE and address a number of topics, including soil water interactions, N source and placement, topdressing and soil-specific N strategies.

How can the ascochyta pathogen be managed given its ability to survive between seasons on infected plant residues? Yield losses from ascochyta infection can be minimised through good management practices, including early and timely intervention with fungicides. OFT contains over 110 trials with results on ascochyta blight, including: strategies for blight control in field peas, blight intervention with fungicides in chickpeas and ascochyta resistant varieties of chickpeas.

In today’s farming systems, weeds are controlled largely by the application of herbicides. Heavy reliance on chemicals, however, has led to issues of herbicide resistance. New trials data and information is available that provides alternative strategies to reduce weeds in crop, including integrated weed management where crop competition can play an important role.