Guide helps manage frost

02 Aug, 2018 04:00 AM
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Ben Biddulph, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, inspects wheat that has been stem frosted.
Ben Biddulph, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, inspects wheat that has been stem frosted.

A NEW guide has been published so growers can identify frost damage and make better crop management decisions.

The Frost Identification Guide for Cereals has been produced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with co-investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

DPIRD development officer Kelly Ryan said the free guide featured several high resolution photographs and clear explanations to help growers quickly and easily diagnose frost damage in wheat, barley and oats.

Ms Ryan said the guide helps growers make a timely, correct assessment of their crop so they could consider a range of management strategies to optimise their business margins.

“Frost can sometimes be difficult to diagnose,” Ms Ryan said.

“This guide will enable growers to determine if their cereal plants have been damaged and to what extent or whether it could be something else that has produced similar symptoms.”

DPIRD recommends inspecting crops for frost damage five to 10 days after a frost event or when temperatures fall below two degrees Celsius.

“We recommend checking lower parts of the paddock for frost damage, starting with light textured soils and to assess a plant every 20 to 30 paces,” Ms Ryan said.

Wheat, barley and oat crops are most susceptible to frost damage at flowering, although cereal crops can also be at risk during the early booting and grain filling stages.

The guide includes details on when to inspect crops, how to identify frost damage at the different stages of plant development, an overview of biotic and abiotic stresses that may have caused damage symptoms and a list of weblinks to more information.

Featured in the guide is a rundown on how to upload crop photographs to the free MyPestGuide Reporter app for frost diagnosis and advice from DPIRD.

Ms Ryan encouraged growers to use the guide in association with the Extreme Weather Events Tool to quickly assess their crop for frost damage.

“This free, online tool can remotely identify areas that may have been exposed to a frost event,” she said.

“The user simply selects the time period, which can be a day, night or range of days, the temperature threshold of less than 2oC and the type of summary.

“From this information, a map comes up that pinpoints the matches to the criteria.”

Free copies of the guide are available from DPIRD offices and online at agric.wa.gov.au, where more tools and information on frost management options are also available and at grdc.com.au.

The guide will be available at DPIRD’s upcoming Dale Frost and Canola field day, near Beverley, on Thursday, August 16.

FarmWeekly

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