THE long 2013 season set up perfectly for the State's wheat National Variety Trials (NVTs).
Kalyx Australia's Peter Burgess discussed the year's long-term wheat NVT results and variety comparisons with a group of interested growers at this week's Agribusiness Crop Updates.
While growers who were keen to get a textbook guide about what varieties to plant and when to plant them might have walked away disappointed, Mr Burgess did provide a number of important insights into WA's most popular varieties.
The key message was don't dismiss varieties that have proven profitable for your business just because there is something new on the market, instead keep the old variety and benchmark all new ones against those tried, tested and proven.
Mr Burgess also addressed the issue of dry sowing and said those who controlled the running of NVTs needed to consider dry sowing and what it might mean for variety development in trials in future years.
He also said a lack of moisture wasn't a problem while establishing the 2013 trials, in fact a large percentage of the trials were planted into soils which started with full moisture profiles early in the year.
He said by June some planted ground had started to run out of moisture but when the rain eventually fell, it fell with minimal frost.
The long, cool and wet finish produced significant grain fill for the NVTs and they were put in a position to produce relatively unclouded results.
While the 2013 trails (and subsequent market signals) indicated that Calingiri remained the alpha dog of the Noodle world, questions were raised as to why growers hadn't seen a replacement yet.
It was as simple as saying there was nothing better than Calingiri on the APWN market as of yet.
Mr Burgess also revealed that Mace continued to rank very well, along with Wyalkatchem and Yitpi in the majority of the NVT trial zones.
He also mentioned the potential for a Yitpi replacement in coming years which would hopefully house a better disease package, especially for yellow spot.
"With breeding it's not an overnight thing, it takes a number of years," Mr Burgess said.
"Plant breeders work to increase yield and crop quality all the time.
"IMI types like Kord, Justica, Grange and Impose have come through the ranks to help tackle some prevalent grass problems but they are still a fair way behind other well-known benchmark varieties in terms of yield."
In general terms Mace performed extremely well across all planting zones in 2013.
Magenta also performed very well because of the long season.
Westonia didn't do quite as well as last year in terms of its overall yield and the Wyalkatchem results were shown to be sitting exactly where they were during the last few years.
Mr Burgess said despite this Wyalkatchem still wasn't a bad performer and continued to be used as a benchmark for other varieties throughout WA.
Corack also performed relatively well and made the most of the long finish with its high yield potential.
Mr Burgess said the varieties in the 2013 NVT made the most of the extended seasonal time frame and demonstrated their ability to express all characteristics.
He also made sure to mention that growers should look at long-term analysis data to assess how any varieties performed on average over a long range of different seasons before making a choice about which varieties to plant in season 2014/15.