For frost’s sake: the mower got out again

Sown on the fifteenth of April and irrigated with 10mm, early sown wheat is flying along at one of our main research sites at Watchupga. Part of a research project looking at frost mitigation strategies, treatments of this trial were defoliated with a mower on June 21 to simulate grazing.

Jointly funded by The Yitpi foundation and Hugh DT Williamson foundation, six varieties of wheat with a spread of maturities were established at two different sowing times (mid April and early May). The aim of the research is to assess the impact and economics of variety selection and management on production in a frost prone environment.

Of the six wheat varieties in the trial, two are winter wheats, required to satisfy and vernalisation requirement. They are suited to earlier sowing with lower likelihood to experience a flowering frost compared to spring wheats sown at the same time due to a more stable flowering timing. Spring wheats, where development is driven by a combination of temperature and day length without a vernalisation requirement, have a less stable flowering time across different sowing timings. Sowing early increases the risk of flowering early in a more frost prone window.

Phenology is being monitored, comparing development of varieties at different sowing times. A grazing treatment has been included to assess how this may delay flowering and mitigate frost damage. Economics of grazing, grain production and salvage hay production will help to paint a picture of the financial outcomes of different management decisions. 

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