GRAIN growers planning their 2020 sowing program can now refer to a detailed compendium of information and data for all major crops and varieties produced in Western Australia.
The 2020 Western Australian Crop Sowing Guide was produced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with co-investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The publication is a compilation of the former annual crop variety guides for wheat, barley, oats and canola and includes a new section on pulses, including lupins, lentils, fieldpea, chickpea, faba beans and vetch.
DPIRD acting manager crop science and grain production Bob French said the Sowing Guide provided a one-stop-shop for variety and agronomic information so growers could evaluate which crop and variety best suited their operation.
"This valuable resource will assist growers with crop and variety selection and management strategies to optimise crop productivity and profitability," Dr French said.
"The guide provides crucial information on yield performance from National Variety Trials, as well as updated disease resistance ratings and agronomic information."
Each crop is segregated by a tab in both the online and hard copy versions, making it quick and easy to find the relevant information and compare alternatives.
The wheat section includes an overview of several new varieties, including Catapult and RockStar.
"The guide has useful data for growers considering a new variety and whether it has better yield, quality or disease traits, provides diversity or risk mitigation and suits current market requirements," Dr French said.
"There is also a table that collates pertinent information on suggested sowing times, which, together with variety choice, is the most reliable way of reducing yield losses due to frost."
The barley section has details about malt and feed varieties, including the new varieties Buff, Leabrook and LG Alestar, which are progressing through malt assessments.
"The barley section is designed to be used in conjunction with new season grain yield data appearing on the NVT website to compare and contrast performance in 2019 against performance over the previous five years," Dr French said.
"It also features a commentary by the Grains Industry Association of WA on market signals for malting varieties, as market demand, pricing and segregations are key considerations when deciding which barley variety to invest in.
"There are changes to disease ratings to note, in response to some pathogens in WA in recent years, as well as tips for managing grain protein to satisfy market requirements."
Highlights in the canola section include an overview of the new varieties HyTTec Trident, ATR Flathead, Hyola 540XC and the new Truflex varieties XseedTM Raptor, Invigor R4022P and Hyola 540XC (GT+CL).
"The guide features independent yield and oil data that will enable growers and advisers to compare the performance of these new varieties to current commercial varieties grown in their area," Dr French said.
The oat section details the performance of milling oat and export hay varieties and includes useful advice on nitrogen management, target plant density and changes to receival standards for the 2019-20 harvest.
"A review has resulted in changes to the Oat2 receival standards for the 2019-20 harvest, which has been illustrated by a table in the guide that clearly defines the requirements," Dr French said.
For the first time, a variety guide has been produced for a range of pulses, which can be useful break crops when used in rotation with cereals and canola.
Dr French said the guide featured details on yields and break even yields to help growers to evaluate if a pulse would suit their system and, if so, which pulse.
"Several new pulse varieties are available with improved herbicide tolerance and disease resistance making pulses a more profitable option," he said.
"Pulse highlights in the guide include a new narrow leaf variety called Coyote, the important chickpea seed size guide, an overview of the new faba bean varieties PBA Bendoc, PBA Marne and PBA Amberley and the new field pea variety PBA Butler.
"Lentils are emerging as a developing crop in the Esperance Port zone, with interest in a new red variety called PBA Hallmark XT, which is profiled in the guide alongside a small section on growing vetch," Dr French said.
The 2020 WA Crop Sowing Guide is available via the DPIRD and GRDC websites.
Hard copies will be sent to the subscribers to the GRDC's GroundCover publication in the new year.