Agronomy plots no longer a focal point at the field days


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June 7, 2013

For decades, the agronomy plots at the Henty Machinery Field Days have been on the “must-see’’ list for regional grain growers.

As one of the state’s most visited NSW Department of Primary Industries trial site, grain growers have regularly explored the new varieties, or inspected fertiliser, inoculant, fungicide or foliar application comparisons.

But, this year, the agronomy plots will not be a focal point of the field days, with the site sown to the short season wheat variety, dart.

Henty Machinery Field Days chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the rationalisation of NSW DPI services meant the usual array of cereal, oilseed and pulse varieties were unable to be sown.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret the agronomy plots will not be a feature of the 50th anniversary field days,’’ Mrs Anderson said.

The 3.2ha site was sown to wheat this week after receiving a total of 101mm of rain.

NSW DPI technical specialist grain services Peter Matthews said falls of 40-70mm had been recorded over the central and southern NSW grain belts.

“It was the first significant fall this year – a lot of crops had been sown dry or into marginal moisture so growers welcomed this good general rain,’’ Mr Matthews said.

“Germination of the early sown crops has been patchy so this rainfall will help even them out, and allow them to grow.’’

Mr Matthews said 90 per cent of the winter crop has been sown in southern NSW, with later season varieties, particularly barley and field peas, still remaining.

“Growers are rather more optimistic now they are able to get crops established and growing,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia has reported sales of tillage machinery and air seeders on the rise.

Gason marketing manager Peter Piddington said the company was 40 per cent up on last year with the increase coming evenly from all states, with the exception of South Australia.

Henty CEO Belinda Anderson expects interest from tillage equipment manufacturers and distributors at the 50th anniversary field days to be strong on the back of the improved seasonal outlook.

Caption: NSW Department of Primary Industries technical officer Phil Armstrong, of Wagga Wagga, sows wheat at the Henty site.