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How farmers get lucky

Take home messages Farmers make their luck by: concentrating on preventing losses, rather than depending on bonanzas giving priority to reducing costs, even if it means missing some income in good years diversifying markets (on-farm) and investments (off-farm) Luck is the upside of risk. In fact, risk covers the full spectrum between disaster and bonanza. […]

Barley in pasture cropping system penalised by large 2011 summer pasture production

Take home messages sub-tropical perennial grasses have persisted and produced good quantities of biomass over several years in the Mallee due to low early winter rainfall and reliance on stored summer moisture, cropping into a summer-growing pasture base led to high yield penalties in 2011 further research and development is needed to fine-tune management of […]

Why are cereal phenology and maturity dates important to grain growers?

BACKGROUND Crop phenology is the study of the life cycle of crops and how it is influenced by seasonal variations in climate. The maturity of cereal crops is controlled by their response to average daily temperatures (thermal time), but this is moderated by day length (photoperiod) and cold requirement (vernalisation). Different wheat and barley varieties […]

Adapting crops to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide

BACKGROUND Increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will affect all aspects of agriculture, irrespective of changes in temperature and rainfall. Atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased by 40% since 1860 and, by 2050, will increase another 40% from current levels to 550 parts per million. Research has shown that rising CO2 increases biomass and yield, […]

Legume Inoculation

BACKGROUND Legumes are used as a break crop for cereals. Legume roots are capable of developing a symbiotic relationship with the root-nodule to form soil bacteria rhizobia. Rhizobia in legume root-nodules, fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2) and convert it into ammonia (NH3), making it available to the plant for growth. The amount of nitrogen (N) fixed […]

Barley agronomy: time of sowing

BACKGROUND Determining the optimum time to sow is challenging enough, but understanding where new varieties should fit within that sowing window is difficult. The risks of frost, heat stress and more recently, sprouting add to the complexity. By targeting the optimal sowing date, seasonal risks can be minimised. Crops are particularly sensitive to stresses in […]

Break crops for the Mallee

BACKGROUND In the BCG region, the area sown to broad leaf break-crops declined dramatically in response to the Millennium Drought. This was a rational response by farm managers, given the high risk and poor profitability of many break crops in drought years. However, following a wet 2010/2011 summer, many farmers took the opportunity to include […]

Conserving moisture during summer

BACKGROUND Capturing, storing and making best use of summer rainfall is one of the most effective ways of improving crop yields in low to medium rainfall environments. The value of storing summer soil moisture has been proven in recent years through various BCG trials (1999 to 2010). Results have shown time and time again the […]

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