Harvest yields ‘average’ in Canterbury


Canterbury’s wheat yields were average to below average last harvest, based on Foundation for Arable Research trial results.

Milling wheat yielded 11.6 tonnes a hectare at FAR’s Canterbury trials last harvest compared with a four-year average of 11.4t/ha.

FAR senior researcher cereals Jo Drummond said solar radiation through grain fill was near average, but around 10 per cent lower than last year, which resulted in average to below average yields in Canterbury trials.

Irrigated feed and biscuit wheats yielded 12.5t/ha compared with a four-year average of 13t/ha. Dryland feed and biscuit wheats yielded 10t/ha compared with a four-year average of 10.2t/ha.

FAR has held a series of annual post-harvest round-up meetings which attracted more than 100 people to events at Ashburton, Dunsandel, Methven, Timaru and Gore.

These were a chance for arable growers and industry representatives to catch up on the previous season’s research results, with a particular focus on autumn activity, such as cereal cultivar selection and establishment, and pest management.

The meetings also provided an opportunity for FAR’s environment team to share research and knowledge around nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and the development of an NUE indicator for cereals.

FAR’s Dirk Wallace said that while nitrogen was required in a cereal system to maximise yield potential, this reward needs to be balanced against the economic risk of overspending on fertiliser (reducing profit) and the environmental risk of nitrogen losses to the atmosphere and water.

“Reducing nitrogen use on arable farms can reduce costs, reduce nitrogen losses to the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the arable sector.

“A triple win.

“Our current research is aimed at creating a simple nitrogen indicator with the ability to reliably inform nitrogen management decisions.

“It’s hoped that the tool will also be able to be used for recording and referencing.”

Grass grub talks, presented by AgResearch’s Sarah Mansfield and FAR’s Richard Chynoweth, focused on future options for controlling these devastating pests.

They reminded growers that organophosphate insecticides for grass grub control are disappearing from the New Zealand market, and that as a result, biological products, utilising naturally occurring pathogens and/or predators of grass grub will become more important.

Cultural controls such as strategic use of cultivation, cover crops and sacrificial crops were also discussed.