BCG’s Extension Team have been out in the field this week talking to local growers about a new project “De-Risking the Seeding Program”.
The project will demonstrate strategies to employ when sowing early or dry. Farm-scale demonstrations will be used to assess various approaches to maximise seed germination and achieve target plant establishment in what can be challenging conditions. BCG wants to hear from local growers about what agronomic management decisions they would be most interested in seeing trialled or compared.
Local grower Matt Ryan says the project will help increase grower confidence in early and dry sowing, and aid in making better informed management decisions, “I am particularly interested in learning about how variety selection may remove some of the risk when making sowing decisions, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding forecasted rainfall”.
Whilst the practice of early and dry sowing is currently used by growers, it can present challenges if the break to the season is significantly delayed or only small rainfall events occur. There are, however, a range of strategies that can be employed to optimise the germination and persistence of seed sown under dry conditions and reduce associated risks. These include variety selection, opportunities for long coleoptile wheats, seed placement through optimising sowing depth, seeding rate, fertiliser placement, pre-emergent herbicide selection, and use of soil water reserves.
There are numerous researched benefits to early sowing including the likelihood of increased grain and biomass production, offering increased opportunity for grazing or hay production in the event of low rainfall or a constricted season. However, these benefits can only be realised if farmers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to execute the sowing program in a variety of scenarios.
Funded by the Future Drought Fund (FDF) Extension and Adoption of Drought Resilience Farming Practices Grants Program and led by Ag Excellence Alliance, this national project will run from June 2023 to June 2025.
If you are a grower interested in having your say about the direction of the project, please contact the Project Manager Grace Hosking on 0467 518 441, or the Extension Manager Demi Taylor on 0436 009 906.