Lupin Harvest at maturity can help reduce grain losses

12/10/2018
Western Australian growers are being urged to harvest lupin crops as soon as they ripen to avoid grain losses from seed shedding and pod drop.

Pod drop, seed shedding, shattering of mature grain and potential for reduced seed germination (if there is rainfall after the crop matures) are key issues to be considered at this time of year in regards to lupin harvest.

By harvesting the crop when it’s ripe it can help to lower the risks of yield losses and lower grain quality stemming from these problems.

Trials completed in WA’s northern grainbelt in 2017, with GRDC investment, found that by delaying harvest weeks after crop maturity lowered average lupin yields by six per cent.

If the gap stretched out to six weeks after crop maturity, average yields were 15 per cent less than the crops harvested at maturity.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) research officer Martin Harries led this research and said the extent of yield loss if the harvest was delayed was similar for all six lupin varieties tested, including the latest released lines.

The results from research

He said, “Many WA growers are adding lupins back into their rotations and to help with decision making, we need to generate more information about the effects of delaying harvest on yield losses and potential grain damage, especially if there is rainfall after the crop has matured.”

Harries continues to add, “The best harvesting window for lupin across WA’s grainbelt is typically within three weeks of crop maturity and as soon as grain moisture content reaches 14pc, which is the maximum allowable moisture level to meet CH Group receival standards. Delaying harvest can cause seed and pods to drop and/or lead to brittle grain that is susceptible to cracking and splitting.”

Six lupin varieties at three harvest times, ranging from crop maturity to six weeks after maturity, were investigated last year by DPIRD at Eradu, near Geraldton.

Overall, average yields of the newer varieties across all harvest times were up to 0.5 tonnes per hectare (26pc) higher than the 2.5t/ha average yield across all varieties and harvest times.

A two-week delay in harvest after crop maturity resulted in an average of 0.04t/ha (6pc yield loss across all varieties).

Delaying harvest by six weeks after the crop ripened caused a greater drop of 0.3t/ha (15pc in average yields).

Mr Harries explained, “All varieties had average yield losses between 12 and 15pc if the harvest was delayed after the crop ripened, compared to if they had been harvested at maturity.”

Source: Farm Weekly

WA could be on track for record-breaking crop production

04/10/2018
WA looks to be on track for record-breaking harvest if current weather conditions across much of the grainbelt continue.

First crop production estimates were recently released by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) for 2018 – WA is predicted to produce more than 15.5 million tonnes of grain and 9.9mt of wheat.

This would leave Western Australia accounting for almost half of the total national wheat crop as the Eastern States continue to go through a severe drought.

James Maxwell, Australian Crop Forecasters analyst, had this to say:

“The big drop has obviously come in Queensland and New South Wales – in Queensland we’ve only got half a million tonnes while New South Wales is at 3.4mt and that has potential to drop further. WA is looking very close, if not more than half of the wheat crop at the moment.”

WA looks set to also have solid seasons with barley and canola – the only state headed for an above-average season.

Steady rain and high commodity prices have set up WA for a successful year but GIWA report author Michael Lamond warns that frost and heat stress could impact how the season played out.

“The growing season for the majority of the State has been near perfect so fat with crops ahead of where they would normally be with a late May break to the season.” Mr Lamond said.

He continues:

“The only downside to this may be the susceptibility to heat stress if crops are exposed to sudden hot weather… The frost risk to crops is generally considered to be less than it was in 2016 – even though crops have moved along quickly this year, they are still behind in growth stage to date from where they were in 2016.”

Kwinana leading the way

In terms of production, Kwinana is predicted to produce more than 8.1mt of grain this season – a quarter of the national wheat crop.

GIWA report that Kwinana crop growth was exceptional even with late May break – cereals being the standout crop.

Most of the zone has benefited from steady rainfall and warm temperatures. Although some areas are suffering from sclerotinia in canola and waterlogged paddocks, most areas are on track for an above-average season.

2018 crop production estimates

Source: Farm Weekly

Mr Lamond spoke about low crop growth areas:

“The very poor area of crop growth are now confined to the eastern portions of the (Southern Albany) zone”.

The Esperance zone has experienced a change of gears compared to previous record-breaking seasons and was “shaping up for just an average year”.

Overall, “Most growers are now confident close to average yields will be achieved if the season does not cut out early.

New research for production of chickpeas

31/08/2018
A multi-nation research collaboration is hoping to unlock valuable new opportunities for the production of chickpeas in Australia.

Researchers supported by GRDC have collected and multiplied wild chickpea species located in the Middle East to build a special genetic resource from which important traits are being screened.

Researches are hoping for a possible incorporation into a new disease-resistant, stress-tolerant, high-yielding varieties for Australian growers.

Dr Francis Ogbonnaya, GRDC pulses and oilseeds manager, says the research is likely to lead to an expansion of Australia’s chickpea production area, particularly in regions where opportunities to grow chickpeas have been limited due to the availability of lines tolerant to constraints such as acidic soils, abiotic stresses and disease stresses.

Chickpeas are Australia’s most valuable cash crop

Dr Ogbonnaya explains the importance of chickpeas in Australia, “…they play an important role in terms of overall optimisation and sustainability of our farming systems.”

“They act as a break crop for cereal rotations, they add nitrogen to the soil, assist with weed control and add market diversity.”

The new research aims to help farmers who have previously had difficulty growing chickpeas due to the narrow genetic base of the domesticated chickpea.

Growth for WA

In Western Australia 2017, only 5000 hectares were planted to chickpeas because of the lack of chickpeas adapted to acidic soils.

“If growers had access to varieties with acid tolerance – and evidence is showing those traits exist in the wild material we now have available – the area planted to chickpeas in the west could potentially grow to about 500,000 hectares. Growers would have a valuable break-crop alternative to lupins.

Wild Genetic Material

CSIRO ecophysiologist, Dr Jens Berger, says

“I am optimistic that we captured the adaptive diversity needed to improve the performance of cultivated species.”

The wild genetic material is being screened for traits such as tolerance to acidic soils, drought, heat and cold, water use efficiency and resistance to diseases such as ascochyta blight, Phytophthora root rot and root lesion nematodes.

Participating in the work are several of GRDC’s Australian research partners including the Centre for Crop and Disease Management; Murdoch University.

Strong mung bean season thanks to demand from China and Vietnam

23/08/2018

A strong mung bean season in Australia has paved the way for crops to get close to average yields.

Thanks to strong demand from China and Vietnam, mung bean prices have avoided the India-inspired slump that hit the rest of the pulse market.

Mark Schmidt, Australian Mungbean Association president, said there would be an estimated total production between 80, 90,000 tonnes now that harvest has finished.

This is above the five-year average to 2016 of 76,000 tonnes.

Mark Schmidt says:

“The production could have been higher given the better opening rain, but it has not been a bad season for mung bean growers.”

“Most growers have had better than average quality and the price went up towards the end of the season which is a good thing both for this crop.”

Mr Schmidt said the prices for legumes have increased even with India taking less than 5 percent of total exports this year. Typically, India accounts for between 30-50 percent of Australia’s mungbean exports.

“We have been lucky there have been production shortfalls in places like Vietnam and China and they are looking for imports.”

mung bean

Image source: mungbean.org.au/

Strong demand in China and Vietnam

Much different to other pulse crops, where India and other destinations command the market, Mr Schmidt said there was a high East Asian demand for mungbeans which were used to make products including cellophane noodles, treasured in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking.

Demand from Vietnam and China has helped push the prices for top quality, processing mungbeans to around $1250 a tonne, while manufacturing grade beans are currently selling for around $1050/t.

“Prices have risen around $150/t since the crop was planted,” Mr Schmidt said.

According to Wayne Newton, AgForce grains section president, growers were reporting a higher percentage than usual of top quality beans thanks to a drier season.

“It’s good that we have the chance to access high-value markets and yields, generally between two to three tonnes a hectare, were not too bad in the end either.”

Mr Schmidt said most of this year’s mungbeans had been sold.

“There is not a lot in surplus which is a good sign for pricing for next season.”

Read our recent post on ‘Optimising Mungbean Yields’ project which is set to better predict what determines mungbean yield in Australia.

Climate change: Planning for future farming

16/08/2018

Climate change is causing everyone to plan ahead for the future.

Experimenting with new ideas is important so we can better understand what will work in the future.

For decades farmers have been dealing with heat waves, flooding, droughts and extreme colds. We can only expect these issues to continue into the future.

Paul Blackwell, retired from CSIRO and DAFWA, has a few suggestions and guidelines that may work for farmers in a Controlled Traffic Farming (CFA) framework.

csiro

Heat Stress

Low rainfall crops can be diminished by approximately one-third for every degree above 35 degrees per day of flowering.

The following strategies may help reduce heat stress:

  • By orientating the rows and tramlines north-south or NW-SE you can allow more of the afternoon’s sun between the rows and not on the crop.
  • Burying topsoil and appropriate organic matter in the subsoil can help cool the heads of flowering crops and pastures by encouraging root density in the subsoil.
Cold Stress (radiation frost)

It may be possible to increase canopy temperature on cold nights (following sunny afternoons) if sunlight can heat the soil between rows and be released to warm the crop later at night. Guidelines of north-south to  NW-SE orientations, wide rows and stubble apply.

Extreme Dry (after summer rain)

Verified by good soil modelling and experimental investigations by The University of Western Australia, Paul Blackwell explains the importance of moisture;

“Keep the subsoil moisture in better with a less compact profile to wick away the moisture and protective stubble to minimise evaporation. Do early sowing between or next to rows to help conserve that benefit. Also, employ dry ridges of non-wetting sand between rows to further lower summer evaporation rates by using smart furrow sowing.”

Extreme Wet
  • Apply safe surface drainage with peak stubble levels,
  • Use slow overland flow along tramlines
  • Furrows with less than 3 percent slope
  • Create drive-through drains in complex slope systems for safer water disposal.

farm weelly wa wheatbelt

These ideas have been backed by farmers and consultants in the southern WA Wheatbelt.

Some of these ideas are being tried at Anthill Farm, Dartmoor.

 

Image source: farmweekly.com.au

Source: Farm Weekly

Feature image source: abc.net.au

 

 

New research to better predict mungbean yield

02/08/2018

A new GRDC research investment, the ‘Optimising Mungbean Yields’ project, is set to better predict what determines mungbean yield in Australia.

Dr Marisa Collins from the University of Queensland will lead the research which aims to benchmark yield and potential drivers of mungbean yield in double-cropping and in fallows.

Mungbeans are the largest summer pulse crop in Australia, but there are still some unknowns about what determines their yield.

Dr Collins will focus the research on factors including soil nutrition and starting water, nematode pressure, rainfall and temperature, and flower-to-pod radio.

Even with good conditions, Mungbeans can return poor yields. Collins explains that understanding what drives yield is an issue she hopes to achieve.

The project will include agronomists, researchers and leading growers of mungbeans.

The initial stages of the project are being trialled on 12 private farms in Queensland, 18 on Darling Downs, and 12 in northern NSW.

Dr Collins said:

“We want to learn from growers, as well as get some hard data around observations, to provide some metrics around what yields can be expected.”

The initial trials have also included the Australian Mungbean Association (AMA) who are helping to manage and monitor the crops.

Mungbeans generally fix their own nitrogen

Growers are wanting to know if they should be fertilising mungbeans as they would any other summer crop.

There is still confusion about the impact on yield if mungbeans are planted in paddocks that were prepared for cotton or sorghum with nitrogen applied in September.

The project helps to provide better answers to growers who want to know what would happen to their crops if they were to double-crop them or plant them into fallow.

‘Optimising Mungbean Yield’ plans to raise the average national yield to two tonnes per hectare from 0.9t/ha – news which has been welcomed by AMA.

AMA president, Mark Schmid, hopes that the data collected will help farmers grow the best crop they possibly can.

“It’s the best summer legume we’ve got… We’re trying to make sure people making decisions about crops are trained correctly…The data our industry will get from ‘Optimising Mungbean Yields’ project will help us to achieve that.”

Image courtesy of Farm Weekly.

 

 

 

Dr Sofie De Meyer Awarded State Government Scholarship

24/07/2018

Dr Sofie De Meyer, MALDI-ID CEO, has just been awarded one of six new Aquaculture and Agriculture entrepreneur scholarships by the McGowan Government.

The scholarships are supported by the State Government’s $3.41 million Science and Agribusiness Connect initiative. 

mark mcgowan labor

Image source: abc.net.au

The scholarships are part of an innovative program designed to assist entrepreneurs with travel, testing, training and/or commercialisation in their specialised field.

Dave Kelly, Science and Fisheries Minister, explains that these scholarships will help WA grow in a number of areas.

“These exciting and innovative projects have the potential to grow WA jobs and the $6.8 billion agriculture sector, particularly in the regions… One project alone could help grow our seafood industry by generating 20 new direct and indirect jobs and $5 million over five years.”

The scholarship will allow Dr De Meyer to further investigate legumes, and how they can help to increase pasture performance.

Click here to read the full article by the Government of Western Australia.

Watch the short video below to learn how MALDI-ID are using the power of science to transform legumes in our agriculture.

RHIZO-ID Kit information

02/07/2018

What you need to know about RHIZO-ID Kits

For the analysis of one paddock up to 100 hectares, you will require one RHIZO-ID kit for each legume plant species.

For paddocks larger than 100 hectares, we strongly recommend using an additional RHIZO-ID kit for better accuracy. Every kit contains four sample bags, for four individual locations in the paddock.

legume root

Previous research has shown that four locations per paddock provide a good overview of the rhizobia situation in that paddock.

We are able to analyse the following rhizobia groups: Group AM/AL (Medic), Group C (Clover), Group FE (Pea, Faba-bean, Vetch, Lentil), Group GS (Lupin spp., Serradella spp.) and Group N (Chickpea).
If your legume host/rhizobia group is not on this list, contact us to discuss the different options.

For more information, watch our short video on the sampling process. We explain how to collect your legumes, and how to use your legume kit.

Order your RHIZO-ID kit online. We proudly ship worldwide. 

Instructional video for sampling your legumes for analysis

02/07/2018

Have you recently ordered a RHIZO-ID kit? Or, perhaps you want to order a RHIZO-ID kit but want to learn more about the sampling process.

Either way, be sure to check out this short informative video that explains the simple steps to follow.

 

Click HERE to order your RHIZO-ID kit.

 

A brief summary of the sampling process:
  • Dig out 5-10 plants per location in the paddock – wash and dry
  • Sort plants according to species and cut off roots
  • Place in kit bags
  • Record sample numbers and paddock GPS location as instructed
  • Return to MALDI-ID

 

MALDI-ID testing available through CSBP

02/07/2018

MALDI-ID proudly partners with leading agriculture company – CSBP.

The MALDI-ID test can be conducted anytime in season and can now be accessed through your local CSBP Area Manager.

CSBP

“At CSBP we’re constantly looking at how new technology can assist our customers.”

MALDI-ID RHIZO-ID kits have been recognised by expert agronomers as an efficient way to identify the correct rhizobia needed for crops or pastures.

 

Click here to read the full article by CSBP

 

We analyse fresh root matter for a legume pasture to give an ID of strains of rhizobia present in root nodules. This method helps to determine if the correct strains of rhizobia exist in your soils or if your land needs to be reinoculated before next season.

Learn more about our RHIZO-ID kits or place your order online now.