Insights on growing Long Season Wheat

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Over the last couple of years Southern Dirt member and Agronomist Kent Stone has been participating in the GRDC invested Long Season Wheat Trial for Southern Dirt growers.

Kent Stones’ observations of the trials are below:

The trial probably has left me with more questions than answers but does have me excited of having an option other than barley or oats on low frost and waterlogged prone country.

The trial did exactly what I expected as we put it in a frost prone paddock and it was a good test to tease out the differences between the long spring and winter varieties. The 2021 season definitely favoured the Accroc.

My attitude going forward

1) be flexible, have both winter wheat and spring barley on hand so we can swing either was depending upon the season. I am still to learn how late we can get away with the winter varieties. 

2) accroc provides and excellent grazing opportunity without having to stress about the first node rushing. I worked on late July being a safe removal time but it was probably even later than that. We ran 30DSE for 10 weeks on some of ours.

3) increase inputs to cater for yield potential as well as grazing nutrient removal. The accroc yields were a couple of tonne less than the trial where we grazed and could not logistically increase N rates. Protein levels were also very low (around 7.5%) indicating that it was under fed.

4) Be aware of weeds, target clean paddocks and have a robust herbicide package including post emergent grass sprays. Most rygrass germinated well after the trifluralin has run out and there is the prospect of blow-outs if not managed correctly.

Trial Description, Objectives and outcomes:

The objective of the trial was for growers in the High Rainfall Zone (HRZ) of WA to have a greater understanding of the agronomic requirements of long season wheat and have the confidence to adopt long season wheat into cropping programs.

The project will demonstrate time of sowing, best available varieties suited to the areas of the demonstration sites and season permitting, the opportunity for grazing without yield penalty.

The project will also provide practical guidelines or agronomic packages for production of long season wheat in the medium to high rainfall zones of South Western Australia.

The key outcomes of this project are:

  • Demonstrate the yield potential of different long season wheat varieties relative to spring wheat varieties with an early sowing window
  • Develop economic analysis comparing long season and spring wheat varieties and time of sowing regarding yield to assist producers in making informed decisions
  • Begin the development of an agronomic package on growing long season wheats, time of sowing, seeding rates and fertiliser application and timing will be examined within this project.
  • Develop protocols around the importance of time of sowing for long season wheat varieties that are best suited to different areas within southern Western Australia
  • Where seasonal conditions allow, demonstrate the ability of sowing long season wheats to manage the feed gap in Autumn and winter through crop grazing with having minimal yield penalty

More information in the trials booklet here on red wheat trials here:

Info from GRDC for early sown wheat: