Growing hyper yielding crops

Topping the chart in a trial to benchmark yields in high rainfall areas was the French barley cultivar Pixel.

Canola yields in excess of 6 tonne/ha and barley yields greater than 10 tonne/ha have been produced as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Hyper Yielding Crops research project.

Led by Field Applied Research (FAR) Australia, the four-year project spans the high productivity regions of five states, and aims to push what are believed to be the economically attainable yield boundaries of wheat, barley and canola.

Over the term of the investment, the project team is focusing on supporting growers and advisers by identifying high yielding potential cultivars best suited to individual environments, and then recognising the most appropriate agronomic management strategies to assist with future decision making.

Rohan Brill, who leads the Hyper Yielding Crops canola research program, said determining optimum nitrogen nutrient management was key if growers were to produce hyper yielding canola crops.

“An element of the 2021 canola research program was to establish a number of nitrogen nutrition trials,” Mr Brill said.

“These trials not only assist with developing the most profitable N strategies for producing these high yields, they are also helping us to understand the key differences between winter and spring canola and determine the effects of N application on growth stages, yield, quality and profitability.”

Canola cv Pioneer 45Y28RR was sown at FAR Australia’s technology centres at Gnarwarre (Victoria) on April 25 and Millicent (South Australia) on May 7.

The champion yield topped out at 6.49 tonne/ha in SA.

This was sown into a neutral-slightly alkaline organosol (peat soil) with high organic matter, following wheat in 2020; 225kg N combined with the application of 6.7 tonne/ha animal manure was applied to replicate high fertility soils in a mixed legume rotation.

Victoria followed closely behind with yields reaching 5.89 tonne/ha on the same trial with a grey clay loam soil type.

Grain yields of greater than 6 tonne/ha were also achieved at the SA site with N application rates of 150 to 300 kg/ha. Yield responses to bagged N peaked at 150kg N/ha and similar yields were achieved between 150, 225 and 300kg/ha of applied N (urea).

Earlier sown winter barley sets benchmark

Kenton Porker said the HYC barley research portfolio wanted to increase the yield potential benchmarks of barley in high rainfall zones.

"We therefore compared new winter and spring germplasm grown under HYC management packages against spring and winter controls in the traditional late April/early May sowing window,” Dr Porker said.

“At the core of increasing yield potential was early sowing, slower developing varieties and have included a new range of two and six-row winter barleys, never before tested in the HRZ regions of Australia.”

Sown on April 21 and topping the yield chart was the French barley cultivar Pixel developed by SECOBRA, a six-row winter barley, which recorded a yield of 10.4 tonne/ha closely followed by Newton, a two-row winter barley with a yield of 9.7 tonne/ha.

Maximum yields achieved in the early sown spring cultivars were 8 tonne/ha in the current high rainfall control cultivars Planet and Rosalind among some other experimental spring lines. Mechanical defoliation (mower) to delay development did not increase yield on these cultivars.

The trial, identified by FAR Australia as the “elite screen time of sowing (TOS) 1 barley trial”, was sown at Millicent in SA following faba beans. The site sits on a neutral-slightly alkaline organosol (peat soil) with high organic matter.

Dr Porker said the results were an exciting development in earlier sowing barley systems and it was encouraging to see that introductions from international collaborators could be better suited to the longer cooler environments when managed correctly.

He said the results also suggested different management was required, and current and experimental spring cultivars may be less suited to earlier sowing.

For further details on the results of the trials, including final yields, inputs and grain quality, visit: