BCG’s Trials Review Day hailed best yet

BCG’s Trials Review Day, held at the Birchip Leisure Centre last Friday, is being hailed by many attendees as “the best yet”.

Growers and advisers attended the event either face-to-face or virtually and enjoyed the well thought-out program. Birchip grower Lach Barber said the quality of the event was exceptional: “The relevant science unveiled on the day by some of Australia’s leading researchers, the first-class audio
visual and the engaging, robust discussion created pushed this yearly event to a whole new level.”

Topics discussed on the day included the herbicide residual trial, new chemistry, variety results, pulse agronomy results, the economics of blackleg management and phosphorus responses in the
Wimmera and Mallee.

The farmer panel discussion sessions were again popular with the harvest weed seed control session, the seeder discussion and Ian McClelland and Trevor Grogan’s (Waffle’s) success story at Curyo generating many questions from the face-to-face and virtual audience.

Dr James Hunt’s nitrogen bank theory generated much interest with Hunt’s theory on nitrogen having the potential to almost double growers’ wheat yields using the current rainfall received.

“Australian wheat yields are only half what they could be for the rainfall received. Nitrogen [N] deficiency is the single biggest factor contributing to this yield gap. This is also likely to be true for other non-legume crops and this reduces farm profitability. Alleviating N deficiency would increase
national wheat yields by 40 percent,” Dr Hunt said.

“What we are finding in our trial at Curyo is the most profitable strategies all have neutral to positive nitrogen balances – more nitrogen applied in fertiliser than removed in grain – indicating soil organic nitrogen is not being mined,” Dr Hunt explained.

BCG’s Kate Maddern and Frontier Farming Systems’ (FFS) Michael Moodie explained the results of their deep ripping trials in the Wimmera and Mallee. This is a topic which is producing much discussion within the industry and Friday’s discussion was no exception.

“Deep ripping can be used to ameliorate soils that have hard pans or compacted layers that are currently restricting crop root growth,” BCG’s Research Agronomist Kate Maddern said.

“By mechanically breaking up the hard soil, it allows the crop roots to grow deeper, potentially increasing access to moisture and nutrition. For deep ripping to have an effect, the tynes must be able to penetrate below the compacted layer.

Kate stressed however the differing results in different soil types and the importance of addressing other soil constraints first as well as testing for soil constraints such as soil sodicity, acidity or salinity to ensure they are not brought to the surface.

“Yield responses to deep ripping are most likely to be seen on soils that are only constrained by compaction or hard pans, and other soil constraints need to be addressed prior to deep ripping,” Kate said.

When questioned by the audience whether he would use deep ripping personally Michael Moodie said he would always use a penetrometer (which measures the depth of the compacted layer) first to determine if the compacted layer is at a depth that can be broken up by the tynes, which will
differ between rippers.

All BCG Trials Review Presentations . The BCG 2020 Season Research Results publication already available to members in eBook format. Contact the BCG office on (03) 5492 2787 to become a member today.

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