The BCG Research Team are undertaking trials across the Wimmera Mallee and are constantly on the look-out for timely, topical and technical information in the paddocks.

Agronomic practices are a vital part of farming systems. These are practices that farmers incorporate to improve soil quality, enhance water use efficiency, manage crops and improve the environment.

Agronomy BLOG - Updates from the field

The economics of blackleg control

1 February 2021 - Janine Batters

Australia’s oilseed expert, Dr Steve Macroft, will discuss the economics of managing blackleg at BCG’s Trials Review Day on Friday 19th of February at the Birchip Leisure Centre.

Research into blackleg control has shown new fungicide actives and timing recommendations have produced large yield responses. However, these are variable ranging from nil to 20% yield increases in on‐farm strip trials and nil to 40% yield increases in small‐plot research trials.

“It can therefore be challenging for growers to decide whether to apply fungicide, particularly in decile 4 to 7 years where there is a lot to be gained or lost from fungicide decisions,” Dr Marcroft said.

The level of crop damage and hence yield loss caused by the disease is determined by a number of interconnected factors, understanding these is key to fungicide application decisions.

“At BCG’s Trials Review Day I’ll be highlighting how these factors—including stubble management, variety resistance ratings, crop rotations and crop isolation, fungicide resistance, seed treatment, sowing time, time of infection and timing of application—can be used to help make fungicide application decisions easier,” Dr Marcroft finished.

Dr Marcroft will also be discussing the BlacklegCM decision support tool to identify high risk paddocks and explore management strategies, the choice of actives and managing fungicides for longevity.

The BCG Trials Review Day is a members’ only event. Attendees are encouraged to register online at The event will be adapted to suit a socially distanced and digital

Vic National Hay Agronomy Update:

7 September 2020 - Alison Frischke

Durak Oats treated with PGR at BCG Main Research Site

BCG Oaten Hay Trial at Curyo trial evaluating the use of PGR Moddus®Evo @ 200mL/ha on lodging and hay quality.

We’ve seen a visible effect on height and maturity of Durack sown 5 May, PGR applied 10 August at GS32 (foreground).

BCG have sown Wintaroo, Brusher, Yallara, Mulgara, Koorabup, Carrolup, Durack and Bannister at the BCG Main Research Site to compare the hay yield and quality of different oat varieties across sowing times in the Southern Mallee.

Funding from Agrifutures has been allocated to observe whether a PGR application can reduce lodging in oats sown for export hay.

Effects of Deep Ripping on Pulse Root Structure

4 September 2020 - Kate Maddern

The images below show the effects that deep ripping has had on the root structure of pulses growing on ripped and unripped soil. The site at Netherby, hosted by RobCo, has two major soil constraints: non-wetting sandy top soil, and a hard setting clay pan at approximately 15-20cm deep. A section of the trial was kindly ripped by the site hosts prior to sowing to a depth of approximately 30cm with 65cm tyne spacings.

PBA Hallmark XT lentils grown on deep ripped soil (L) compared to unripped soil (R). Lentils sown on the 25th of May, dug up on the 31st of
Genesis 090 chickpeas grown on unripped soil (L) compared to ripped soil (R). Chickpeas sown on the 25th of May, dug up on the 31st of August

The trial will be taken through to harvest to measure yield and grain size, and will be reported in the 2020 BCG Season Research Results and presented at Trials Review Day in 2021. This trial was made possible thanks to BCG members, as this trial was funded through BCG memberships.

Gibberellic acid (GA) in Vetch

20 August 2020 - Brooke Bennett

GA (GALA @ 80ml/ha) applied on the 31st of July at Pyramid Hill. Visual colour and height differences 18 days post spray. Vetch sown on the 6th of May.

Morava GA (left), Morava nil (right) (iPad for scale)
Morava GA (left), Morava nil (right)
Popany GA (left), Popany nil (right)

Vetch TOS at Pyramid Hill south site

20 August 2020 - Claire Pickles

TOS1 was sown on May 4 and TOS 2 was sown on 26 May.

These photos were taken on 31 July and show the differences in 2 varieties between the two sowing times.

While only 21 days difference, the variance in growth is large. The maturity groups are as follow:

Timok: Mid
Morava: Late
Popany: Very late

When each variety reaches flowering hay cuts will be taken from each variety to determine total biomass from the different times of sowing.

BCG Main Field Site – Time of Sowing x Variety

24 July 2020 - Gen Clarke


A few comparative images showing the difference in biomass in Oat Varieties at our Main Field Site at Curyo.

Main Site – Curyo – TOS Canola Varities

24 July 2020 - James Murray

Hyola 350TT and ATR Bonito Canola at Curyo sown 31/3, 22/4, 5/5. The optimal start of flowering date for canola in Birchip is 26 July. Both varieties sown 22nd April will nail this optimal flowering date, the 31/3 sown ATR Bonito has also flowered close to this date. The quicker maturing Hyola 350TT has flowered slightly earlier when sown 31/3 however still within the acceptable range of 33 days within the optimum date (10/7-11/8). The 5th of May sown crops will both likely flower too late and miss this optimal flowering window.

Timok vetch sown 9th April, 22nd April, 5th May. Showing large vigour and biomass differences. Will be interesting to see implications for disease management and hay cut time as the season progresses.

21 July 2020 - James Murray

Yellow tipped leaves in barley – Pyramid Hill

21 July 2020 - James Murray

Yellow tipping of leaves was observed in a number of barley varieties at Pyramid Hill, Spartacus CL pictured. This is characteristic of what this variety and some others closely related show at this time of year. Be sure to correctly diagnose any potential nutritional deficiencies or disease issues before addressing these, as it may just be leaf tipping. The crop will likely grow out of this as the season progresses. See an article form InterGrain from last year.

Blackleg upper canopy trial

27 May 2020 - Kelly Angel

Canola flower at Curyo

Photo taken at the main site yesterday. Hyola 350TT punching out its first flower, the rest of the plot is well and truly bolting.

This plant is part of a trial looking at upper canopy blackleg infection from different times of sowing, sown April 9… it’s just too early. 

Good example of the need to match phenology to sowing date – how many other examples of this will we see this year given the early rains?

Pyramid Hill Trials

27 May 2020 - Claire Pickles

Pyramid Hill TOS1 emerged and TOS2 being sown on 26 May. GRDC Pulse agronomy trials and BCG trials

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