Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Crops

You can see our rainfall (mm) for 2011 and early 2012 below. Basically we were ready to plant at the start of May and 12mm of rain pulled us up. We got going at the end of June and again in September. One paddock of canola sown early May yielded 2.5 t/ha. Those sown in June were much worse, mainly due to poor establishment due to slugs and wet weather. The September sown canola was similar to June sown with similar establishment problems. Wheat and Barley sown in September had similar establishment problems, some was near perfect and other paddocks were a complete disaster with rain soon after sowing causing seed burst, other paddocks missed the rain but suffered some slug damage.

Toongabbie rainfall, 2011-12
Apart from establishment difficulties the season was kind for spring crops. We had an exceptionally wet and cool November and December, with barely a day over 25 degrees. The wet weather combined with warm summer temperatures did bring some other problems, namely stem rust in the wheat and caterpillers in the barley. Canola was ready to windrow early January and harvest commenced later in January.

It was interesting to see longer season Gairdner barley outyield shorter season Hindmarsh. I assumed that a quicker maturity variety would be better as it would fill grain earlier when it is cooler. The Gairdner took it's time, tillered well and produced reasonable size heads. The hindmarsh just grew too quick and produced short heads without many tillers. I think that hindmarsh needs to grow in the winter to slow it down and produce a decent yield. Perhaps if the Hindmarsh was planted thicker it would have yielded better; we really need some trials on sowing rate and variety for spring sown crops. I've started a web page about spring cropping.

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