How you manage your farm in the months leading up to sowing are vital in improving your chances of better yields and grain quality at harvest.
We’ve sifted through the information to provide a list of ‘go-to’ resources for planning in 2018.
It’s been said many times before but “stubble management starts at harvest”. The opportunity to adjust your stubble height and trash throw has passed but there are still plenty of things you can consider to maximise stubble management over summer. The GRDC-funded stubble project (BW00024 Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble in Victoria and Tasmania) offers some useful resources on the stubble focused website which was developed through the project. In particular the Guidelines for Growers section including: 7. Tools to manage fallow period, 8. Monitoring stubbles during the fallow period, 9. Sowing into stubble: seeder set-up and selection, 13. Herbicide application in retained stubble systems and 16. Crop nutrition in a retained stubble system.
Controlling summer weeds
Rainfall in early December saw many growers across the region leave their headers only to start the sprayer for some summer weed control. With sowing still a few months away, there is still time for rainfall events to germinate pesky weeds.
The GRDC publication Summer Fallow Weed Management (ICN00012) was produced to aid growers to stop weeds in their tracks and highlight the benefits for control such as:
* Increased plant available water
* A wider and more reliable sowing window
* Higher levels of plant available nitrogen (N)
* Reduced levels of weed vectored diseases and nematodes
* Reduced levels of rust inoculum via interruption of the green bridge
* Reduced levels of diseases vectored by aphids that build in numbers on summer weeds
* Reduced weed physical impacts on crop establishment, and
* Controlling the green bridge.
How to conduct a germination test
Testing the viability of your retained seed can be done with a simple germination test to determine an appropriate seeding rate for 2018. BCG produced a germination test fact sheet that can be found here.
What to do about mice
A mouse plague could still be on the cards for the 2018 season, and growers should be proactive about mouse management well before sowing begins.
Growers across the Wimmera and Mallee were hard pressed to stay on top of the problem in 2017, but mostly managed to avoid the severe and widespread damage generally associated with a plague.
However, with mouse plagues often developing over a two year cycle and current conditions remaining conducive, the biggest threat could still lie ahead. Staying focused on effective mouse management is more important than ever....
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