Frost research and canola agronomy trials on show at Dale Field Day

Frost Canola field Day - Dion Nichol
DPIRD research officer Dr Dion Nicol will give a presentation on his frost research projects at the forthcoming upcoming Dale Research Site Field Day on 11 October 2018. Image courtesy of WA DPIRD

Grain growers and consultants can find out the latest advances in frost research in cereals and canola agronomy at the upcoming Dale Research Site field day, near Beverley.

The WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is hosting the morning event on Thursday, 11 October 2018, which will include a tour of field trials.

The department has several trials underway at Dale, with co-investment from the Grains and Research Corporation (GRDC), to better understand the impact of frost on cereals, while a separate time of sowing canola agronomic trial is also located at the site.

Research officer Dr Ben Biddulph will profile his research on the influence of the time of sowing on the frost risk for different wheat varieties.

Department Grains Research Scholarship recipient, and UWA PhD candidate Brenton Leske, will give an overview of his wheat research to better understand the physiological responses to frost that drive grain yields and how different varieties respond to frost.

Another frost trial to identify opportunities to transfer upfront crop inputs, particularly nitrogen fertiliser, until after the crop is established, will be discussed by department crop physiologist Dr Dion Nicol.

Development officer Kelly Ryan will speak on her trial that seeks to debug the myth that the presence of ice-nucleating bacteria increases the risk of frost damage in oats and wheat.

Senior research officer Rebecca Smith from Living Farm will discuss sowing windows and suitability of different cereal crops for early sowing in frost prone landscapes.

University of Western Australia lecturer Dr Nic Taylor will give a presentation on the use of big data analytics in research trials. UWA Post graduate researcher Bonny Stutsel will also explain her work on rapid post-event identification of frost damage in wheat.

Richard Devlin Living Farm and DPIRD Senior Technical Officer Mike Baker and trial site host Bill Cleland will give an overview of the site management and demonstrate the irrigation infrastructure installed.

Field day participants will also be able to learn more about the recently released ‘Frost Identification Guide for Cereals’, produced by the department with support from the GRDC and view one of the department’s mobile field support units in action.

The canola component of the day will include a presentation by research officer Imma Farre on her crop modelling research, which has identified the optimum sowing window to maximise canola yields for low and medium rainfall zones.

Development officer Jackie Bucat will guide a tour of colleague Martin Harries’ canola trial which is evaluating four different sowing dates for 10 varieties.

This trial, together with identical trials at Mullewa and Wongan Hills, will help to validate Dr Farre’s canola model.

The day will conclude at about noon with lunch and opportunity to network and talk first hand to researchers about their work.

The site is accessible from the end of Cooke Road, Dale.

Field day visitors are encouraged to register their attendance by Friday, 28 September 2018, for catering purposes, by contacting Kelly Ryan on +61 (0)8 9368 3480 or

Source: WA DPIRD

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