Wagga update explores outcomes from rural research

GAINING the best response in barley crops was one of the topics addressed at a two-day forum in Wagga this week.

More than 280 growers, agronomists and researchers gathered at Joyes Hall at Charles Sturt University to hear from some of agriculture’s industry leaders. The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) update was titled Strategic Steps Enduring Profit. 

On the opening day NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) crop physiologist Dr Felicity Harris addressed the gathering. She spoke about phenology responses of barley in southern NSW. Dr Harris said the adaptation and yield potential of barley were dependent on matching phenology and sowing time of varieties to ensure heading date and grain formation occurs at an optimal time, with minimal exposure to abiotic stresses.

INDUSTRY INROADS: Dr Feclicty Harris of the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Wagga inspects a cereal crop. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

INDUSTRY INROADS: Dr Feclicty Harris of the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Wagga inspects a cereal crop. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

In recent times early heading dates were found to positively correlate with grain yield. 

A field experiment was conducted at Wagga Agricultural Institute to determine the influence of variation in phenology patterns on grain yield and components.

Dr Harris said the experiment found that there was a substantial variation in flowering date for the genotypes sown across the three sowing dates.

She said optimum grain yield is achieved when genotypes are matched with sowing date to ensure flowering occurs at an appropriate time.

Summary

The data suggested there is scope for exploring alternative development genes for more varied phenology patterns in barley for earlier April sowing. Compared to other cereals, barley is an adaptive crop, capable of achieving high stable grain yields across a range of genotype and sowing time combinations and through varied yield components. However, matching variety and sowing time to achieve flowering at an appropriate time for the growing environment is the most effective management strategy in  grain yields. 

Take home messages

  • Genotypes with alternative development patterns showed variation in flowering date in response to sowing time.
  • High grain yields were achieved across a range of variety x sowing date combinations, and through varied yield components.

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