Featured topics

Winter


See here for net blotch trials on OFT. Net blotch is a plant disease that mostly affects barley. There are two types of net blotch. Net type is caused by by the fungus Pyrenophora teres f. teres and spot type is caused by Pyrenophora teres f. maculata. Symptoms are most commonly found on leaves, but can occasionally be found on leaf sheaths. Net type and spot type net blotch are different in appearance.The net type appears as pin point brown lesions on the leaves which elongate and produce fine, dark brown streaks along and across the leaf blades to form a net appearance.The spot type also similar but the lesions are surrounded by yellow edges. As infection progresses they can elongate and join together. Severe infection reduces green leaf area and kills leaves prematurely and causes reduced seed weight and grain quality.

 

Broadacre cropping has seen an increase in snail and slugs as no-till and stubble retention practices increase. Snails and slugs can damage plant seed and seedlings, contaminate harvest and even damage germinating seeds.

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.

Autumn


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.