The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s “Hyper Yielding Cereals Project”, which has already set new benchmarks for the yield performance of feed wheats in Tasmania, is continuing to stir interest among the State’s farming fraternity.
Aimed at boosting Tasmania’s production of high quality feed grain cereals and thereby reducing its reliance on supplies from the mainland, the project will be the centre of attention on November 16 2017 at a field day at Hagley.
The field day will showcase the research site of some 800 experimental plots dedicated to improving the ability of the State’s farmers to grow high quality feed wheat and barley.
A GRDC investment, the five-year Hyper Yielding Cereals Project is being led by FAR (Foundation for Arable Research) Australia in collaboration with Southern Farming Systems (SFS).
FAR Australia’s Managing Director Nick Poole says with input from national and international cereal breeders, growers and advisers, the project is working towards setting record yield targets as aspirational goals for growers of feed grains.
Mr Poole says the project has been set the challenge of:
- Increasing average Tasmanian red feed wheat yields from 4.4 tonnes/hectare to 7t/ha by 2020;
- Delivering commercial wheat crops which yield up to 14t/ha by 2020.
“In 2016, the results were exceptional, well and truly exceeding the project’s yield targets,” Mr Poole said.
“Late April-sown wheat yielded more than 16t/ha in experimental plots, and barley sown at the same time yielded in excess of 10t/ha.
“While it was an exceptional year in terms of growing season rainfall and conditions, the 2016 season gives reason to believe that the yield potential of feed grain cereals in Tasmania is in excess of current industry benchmarks.”
Mr Poole said work in 2017-18 was taking new germplasm identified in 2016 and exposing it to a wider range of crop management scenarios.
GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair, Keith Pengilley, of Evandale, says the GRDC recognised some time ago that a huge opportunity exists for Tasmania to be producing much greater volumes of feed grain cereal crops with higher levels of quality to meet the needs of the State’s burgeoning dairy and aquaculture sectors and other industries.
“Despite a more favourable climate for grain production, compared with the mainland, and greater yield potential, Tasmania remains a net importer of cereal grains. We want to see Tasmania become more self-sufficient in its capacity to supply feed to the State’s primary industries,” Mr Pengilley said.
He said the project was established to bridge the gap between actual and potential yields through genetic improvement of crops, best practice in terms of management of those crops and recognition of quality.
Key findings from the research to date will be presented to growers, advisers and industry personnel attending the field day at Hagley in November 2017.
The field day will feature research trial demonstrations and a line-up of international, mainland and Tasmanian speakers who will discuss various aspects of improved germplasm and agronomy, grain quality, mixed farming systems and the feed grain requirements of various industries.
Keynote speaker will be New Zealand’s Eric Watson who, along with his wife Maxine, holds the world record for a 16.79t/ha wheat crop. Mr Watson will discuss what it takes to grow the world’s highest-yielding wheat.
The field day on Badcock Lane, Hagley, will be from 10am to 4pm.