Agronomy plots to be the gem of this year’s Henty field days

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Chief executive officer Belinda Anderson inspects the agronomy plots at the Henty Machinery Field Days site.

June 11, 2014
Henty Machinery Field Day’s agronomy plots will be back on the “must-see’’ list for regional grain growers this year.
The popular cereal, oilseed and pulse trials were absent last year with the 3.2ha site sown to the short season wheat variety dart.
By this year’s event on September 23-25, the site will be a sea of yellow under the triazine tolerant canola variety, ATR Gem, courtesy of Riverina Local Land Services and contractors Kaylx Pty Ltd.
As one of the state’s most visited DPI trial sites, it has enable past field day visitors to explore new varieties, inspect fertiliser, inoculant, fungicide or foliar application comparisons.
This year, half the site has been sown to canola and the balance left as a chemical fallow
Murray and Riverina Local Land Services will manage the single season replicated trials of phosphorus, nitrogen and sulphur.
Riverina Local Land Services senior land services officer (cropping) Lisa Castleman said soil tests in recent years on regional cropping paddocks had revealed variability within phosphorus levels.
“Prior to the drought, fertiliser rates were trending up to 120kg/ha of products such as MAP and DAP in dryland cropping paddocks,’’ Ms Castleman said.
“After some dry seasons and crops not able to yield to their targets, there were residual values of phosphorus and sometimes nitrogen in the paddocks.
“Despite recent favourable seasons, soil levels of macronutrients are still high.
“The rainfall and length of season vary across the Riverina but this disparity in fertiliser rates can occur between neighbours.’’
Ms Castleman said decisions on fertiliser, such as timing and application rates, needed to be based on science and economics.
She said Riverina Local Land Services would evaluate the yield responses and return on investment at the field day trial site.
“Gem canola was selected as it is a popular variety, seed is easily accessible and it was suited to the sowing window,’’ she said.
HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the co-operative was pleased to have Riverina Local Land Services on board.
Mrs Anderson said the rest of the field day site had been revitalised with applications of single superphosphate and lime.
She said the chemical fallow was part of future crop rotation plans.
“We are excited to have the end results this year as yield data has not been collected before,’’ Mrs Anderson said.
“The crop was sown on time into moisture and it is pleasing to have Lisa assisting us with her local knowledge.’’