THE ability of long-season wheat varieties to utilise over two metres of soil depth will be one of the topics being presented at the West Midlands Group (WMG) Seasonal Updates Festival, from today, Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.
The broader benefits of long-season wheat have been the focus in a series of research trials which were conducted across the region in 2021 in soils that have been ameliorated and are now free of constraints such as compaction and acidity.
The results are promising, with grain yields reaching close to eight tonnes per hectare and with greater soil water and nutrient use evident to depths of more than 2m.
WMG graduate project officer Adam Anfuso worked on these trials as part of a master's research project at The University of Western Australia and outlined long season wheat varieties' ability to potentially utilise a greater volume of the soil as they have a longer residence time.
"They grow for a longer period and have more time to reach deeper into the soil,'' Mr Anfuso said.
"I hope the results from my research can help growers gain a little extra knowledge into ways they can extend their growing season and soil organic matter through deeper rooting, long season wheat varieties."
WMG executive officer Nathan Craig was also happy with the results found so far.
"This project has been a great example of a grower group working on an opportunity that came up in conversation with one of its members and now offers a significant boost to crop production in our region" Dr Craig said.
This project will be featured on the first day of the WMG Seasonal Updates Festival, in a session starting at 12:30pm.
Usually a single-day, face-to-face event, the Seasonal Updates has been changed in response to the community spread of COVID-19.
It is also in step with many changes in the agricultural industry calendar where the cancellation, postponing and reworking of events, workshops, and gatherings has been commonplace.
The WMG Seasonal Updates Event was planned to be delivered in a period of potentially very high COVID infection rates and community risk.
WMG understands that missing out on face-to-face events is a considerable and continual frustration to members and the local community and is taking this opportunity to flip this event into something informative, innovative, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone.
Dr Craig further outlined that the event will run all week, with two 30-minute online presentations being held between 12pm and 1pm each day.
"We also have support during and after the festival from our online discussion groups, where attendees can join the conversation and ask questions of the presenter and other farmers and industry for up to a week following," Dr Craig said.
The WMG team has been busy delivering a range of drinks with special one-off QR code labels out to its members as part of their member packs for this year.
WMG members will be able to have what is being dubbed a virtual sundowner, which is often a popular part of each of the group events.
"The aim is to ensure that our members remain connected with the group over the next few challenging months," Dr Craig said.
WMG has opened this event up and made it free to the agricultural industry in acknowledgement of the many events, on top of COVID-19, that have affected farmers' ability to connect and receive information.
"COVID, cyclones and bushfires are just some of the challenges that we have seen in the past 12 months and we want all farmers to have access to the information that they need to drive improved business performance," Dr Craig said.
Ten presenters will participate in presentations at this Seasonal Updates Festival, all of which are applicable to the broader WA grain growing region.
Speakers will include Rabobank's Crawford Taylor, CBH's Ben Macnamara, The Livestock Collective's Amelia Nolan and Stirling to Coast's Phil Honey, covering natural capital, crop and pasture production, social licence and the use of ag-tech.
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