COMBINED peer-to-peer learning between growers and their experiences on-farm with industry research in the region was a feature of the recent Corrigin Farm Improvement Group (CFIG) Winter Field Walk.
The event attracted 55 farmers and industry professionals.
Topics from the day included an interest rate and commodity update, canola establishment on a reefinated paddock, a Havok wheat demonstration, Ripper Gauge trial, a legume trial, seeding systems trial, net blotch in barley fungicide trial, managing mouldboarded paddocks and non-wetting sands and a machinery update.
CFIG executive officer Veronika Crouch said the day had a strong focus on managing soil constraints with tillage.
“It was great to have experienced agronomist Simon Wallwork, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development researcher Glen McDonald and Tim Pannell, Rocks Gone, attend to better understand the impacts ameliorating soil has on crop vigour and yield,” Ms Crouch said.
Local grower Ash Jacobs said the day was successful with the season progressing well since a dry start.
“There was quite a bit to see because of how well the season has turned out so far,” Mr Jacobs said.
He and Ms Crouch presented a GRDC-funded project - seeding systems to improve cereal crop establishment on heavy textured soils - to the group.
This project demonstrated to growers the most profitable tyned seeding system for improved cereal crop establishment on medium to heavy textured soils in the eastern Wheatbelt.
A trial site was established on Mr Jacobs’ farm to assess a range of furrow closing options and down force pressures.
Ms Crouch said the project aimed to highlight the need to select the best furrow closing system on heavy textured soils to improve crop emergence and grain yields. “The concept of this project is to compare a range of furrow closing systems and packing pressures and to determine which closing system will be more productive on medium to heavy textured soils,” she said.
“The group has chosen to focus on tyned airseeders as they are the most commonly used system in the region.”
The time of germination has become critical in the eastern Wheatbelt because of a drying spring climate.
Ms Crouch said adopting guidelines for growers to follow in terms of a seeding system set-up for the heavy textured soils in the eastern Wheatbelt could help improve crop establishment and profitability.
“Having the airseeder set up correctly is critical for rapid seed germination, uniform crop emergence and good early crop vigour,” Ms Crouch said.
“To increase crop establishment it’s not just simply a case of swapping knife points and press wheels to a disc seeder system.
“One challenge faced by growers in the eastern Wheatbelt is their ability to maintain a consistent and accurate seeding depth across their varying soil types.
“As a result crop establishment is often variable with crops sown too shallow or deep and with insufficient furrow closing.”
Local farmer Geoffrey Fisher, who attended the day, said it was a productive day.
“We saw a variety of trials,” Mr Fisher said.
“There was a good discussion about deep ripping and selective tillage specific to our area.”
CFIG will host the Spring Field Walk on Thursday, September 20.
p More information: Go online to cfig.asn.au