A research project that will assist canola growers to ‘play the season’ with nitrogen fertiliser applications to optimise their crop potential is underway across the grainbelt.
This is the second year of the Department of Agriculture and Food’s five year Tactical Break Crop Agronomy project, co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
Department development officer Jackie Bucat said last year’s trial results showed there was no disadvantage from applying nitrogen late in the year.
Growers typically apply nitrogen at seeding and before bolting, at about eight weeks, to boost crop yields.
Ms Bucat said trial results from the 2013 season showed a similar plant response to nitrogen, regardless of time of application.
“They showed that at the same rate of nitrogen, yield, oil content and gross margins were similar whether the nitrogen was applied in one dose or split across two, three or four applications, from seeding to flowering, twelve weeks later,” she said.
“As 2013 had a kind spring, the trials are being repeated this year with a focus on the outcome of the 12 week, flowering time application.”
Ten nitrogen trials have been established this season in the lower rainfall areas of Chapman Valley, Yuna, Salmon Gums, Holt Rock, Cunderdin, Buntine east and at the department’s Wongan Hills and Merredin Research Stations and in the high rainfall zone at Gibson and Qualeup, west of Kojonup.
The lower rainfall areas have been sown to Sturt T TT and Pioneer 43Y23RR, while the high rainfall areas have been planted with ATR Wahoo, Hyola® 404RR and Pioneer® 45Y88CL.
Each variety in the low rainfall areas have been sown with 10 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare, with follow-up treatments at eight and 12 weeks. Trials in the high rainfall zone received 15kgN/ha at sowing and will have follow-up nitrogen treatments at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
“This will be the first time that we have pushed the nitrogen application out to 16 weeks, which will be well into flowering and pod fill – so the results will be very interesting,” Ms Bucat said.
“The results of all these trials will provide further information that will enable us to assist growers to determine whether or not it’s worth investing in additional nitrogen applications, depending on the variety, location and the season.”
The trial results and recommendations will be provided at next year’s Crop and Regional Updates events.
For more information about Tactical Break Crop Agronomy project visit agric.wa.gov.au
Also watch local media for details about upcoming field days, including the Esperance Downs Research Station field day on 11 September, hosted by DAFWA and SEPWA, the Merredin Research Station field day, 25 September and the WANTFA Spring Field Day on 2 September.