A paper by Dr Neil Fettell of CWFS and others, published by the GRDC.
Take home messages
- Longer season wheat varieties have the potential to give greater yields than quicker varieties, particularly when sown into high levels of stored soil moisture
- Effective fallow weed control and stubble retention increase the chances of successful early sowing
- The combination of variety choice and sowing date is crucial in ensuring that crops flower in the preferred window.
- Higher yielding varieties for early sowing are being developed.
Longer season wheat varieties have been grown in central NSW over many years, but their area has declined in recent decades. The millennial drought, less frequent early autumn breaks and a succession of dry springs favouring quicker varieties have contributed to this change. Over the same period Australian wheat breeders focussed on cultivars with increasingly rapid development through selection of insensitive photoperiod and vernalisation alleles. There were few longer season varieties released, particularly mid-developing winter wheat cultivars (similar to EGA Wedgetail, Wylah, Whistler), following closure of the Temora breeding program in 2002.