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TAS Country : December 8th 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011 Tasmanian Country 11 News Wheat faces the Tassie test KAROLIN MacGREGOR FIELD DAY: Farmers cast a knowing eye on how well the tested wheat varieties performed in the special Tasmanian conditions. Special trials in ground SOMETIMES the best way to find out which cereal varieties will thrive in Tasmania is to put them in the ground. This is exactly what has happened in a Southern Farming Systems wheat trial near Hagley. A group of farmers recently gathered at Mill Farm Cottage to see how a range of English wheat varieties was faring this season. Varieties for the trial have been supplied by the CSIRO and seed companies, including Midland Seeds and Wrightson Seeds. Plant specialist Reuben Wells walked farmers though the trials in the SFS Spring Field Day. Another project examined on the day included a crop growth regulator trial. In the variety trial, small areas of each wheat variety were sown. The trial was divided into two sowing dates in April and May. Mr Wells said growing the wheat in Tasmania under local conditions was often the best way to find out just which potentially might become suc- cessful commercial varieties. ''The conditions here are quite differ- ent to a lot of the mainland growing regions,'' he said. ''So varieties that perform well over there won't necessarily go as well down here because of the cooler tempera- tures we have.'' ''Some of these varieties are a stab in the dark, but you never know.'' Varieties in the trial included mostly white wheat varieties but two red wheats were also tested. The trial looking at production and such other factors as disease resistance and susceptibility. Mr Wells said several varieties being trialled had been used successfully as milling wheats in the United Kingdom for some time. Seed supplier Roberts agronomist Terry Horan said it would be interest- ing to see what results came out of the trial. ''The more work we can do to get a good white milling wheat that can be grown here the better,'' he said. ''I think it's important so that Tas- manian growers can compete against grain that is grown interstate.'' Soil health project under way MANAGING soil health in real commercial pro- duction systems is the aim of a new project now under way in the North West. The project is being run by Cradle Coast NRM us- ing funding from the Fed- eral Government's Caring for Our Country program. The project will involve six farming operations testing different ways of managing soil health, so ideas can be validated and possibly be integrated into the farms' practices. Farmers involved with the project will receive grants of up to $10,000. Cradle Coast NRM land co-ordinator Hannah Sad- ler said the funding would help reduce farmers' risk of trying something new. ''Ultimately the findings can be shared throughout the region and may lead to North West farmers hav- ing an edge in best practice production,'' she said. The project will include trials over two seasons, ending in 2013. The trials will include a comparison of nitrogen nu- trition methods in culti- vated annual cropping, the benefits of biofumigation for pyrethrum crops, ap- plying foodweb method- ology to cropping systems, use of sustainable farm nutrient management and the differences in soil con- dition under different man- agement techniques in- cluding tillage, controlled traffic and compost. The project will also aim to find a link between onion qual- ity and soil nutrient levels. Grant applications open ACTION ON THE GROUND PROGRAM CARBON FARMING FUTURES The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is seeking applications for project funding under round one of the $99 million Action on the Ground program, as part of the Australian Government s Carbon Farming Futures fund. These grants will provide successful agricultural sector grantees with funding to undertake on-farm projects to trial and demonstrate practices/abatement technologies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and/or to increase and maintain carbon stored in soil. Eligible applicants include: individuals and groups of landholders, research, industry, non-government, government and farmer care grower groups/organisations. Applicants must be an Australian legal entity. Applications for round one of Action on the Ground program grants close at 5pm (AEST) on Wednesday, 8 February 2012. For further information and to obtain a copy of program guidelines and application requirements, please visit www.daff.gov.au/climatechange/ carbonfarmingfutures/action-on-the-ground, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1800 025 005. AG56623
December 1st 2011
December 15th 2011