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Albany, Australia

Sharma D.L.,75 York Rd | Anderson W.K.,44 Albany Highway | Anderson W.K.,University of Western Australia
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2014

Deterioration of crop yields due to exploitive cropping systems (CS) is a worldwide problem reducing profitability for farmers, food availability for consumers and inducing poor utilisation of rainfall. Following a diagnostic approach, likely constraints were identified and corresponding remedies tested in factorial experiments over three years at two sites in the central grain belt of Western Australia. The constraints at the first site (York, sandy clay loam soil) were high cereal cyst nematode (CCN), low cation exchange capacity (CEC) and soil compaction; and the remedies tested were CCN resistant cultivar, green manuring and deep ripping (DR). The constraints at the second site (Beverley, leaching prone sandy duplex soil) were high weed burden (ryegrass, Lolium rigidum L.), soil compaction, low pH and low CEC; and the remedies tested were repeated hay crops, deep ripping including lime application, and green manuring. Nitrogen applications on the cereal crops were split between sowing and after heavy rainfall events at the Beverley site.The crop and variety choice was important at both sites, deep ripping was sometimes useful at Beverley but clearly detrimental at York. CEC was not increased using green manuring. Tactical N showed potential at the leaching site at Beverley where it often assisted in reducing the weed burden. We infer that a diagnostic approach can be successfully used to increase grain yield once constraints have been diagnosed and addressed. Constraints to yield at these sites were related and often interactive implying that addressing only one limiting factor may not be effective in improving yield in the short term. We found that the solution to CS problems can sometimes be as simple as variety replacement (for example, CCN resistant cultivar at York) but can often be complex as seen at the Beverley site.It is concluded that where cropping systems in rainfed areas are not producing yields that approach the limits set by the rainfall, there is a need to devise a system of constraint prioritisation based on yield loss, causal hierarchy and hierarchy of consequences over time. It is suggested that farmers should test the diagnosed remedies on reference paddocks before they commit to heavy costs. Decisions about expensive remedies would ultimately lie in the balance between the costs of lost opportunity and implementation of the remedies. © 2013.

Brennan R.F.,44 Albany Highway | Bell M.J.,University of Queensland
Crop and Pasture Science | Year: 2013

The Better Fertiliser Decision for Crops (BFDC) National Database holds historic data for 356 potassium (K) fertiliser rate experiments (431 treatment series) for different rain-fed grain crops and soil types across Australia. Bicarbonate-extractable K (Colwell soil-test K) is the most extensively used soil test reported in the database. Data are available for several crop species grown on a range of soil types from all states except Tasmania. Species represented and number of treatment series in the database are: wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), 254; barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), 5; canola (Brassica napus L.), 130; lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.), 32; sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), 10; sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.), 5; and faba bean (Vicia faba L.), 2. About 77% of the available soil-test K (STK) data on wheat, canola, and lupin are from Western Australia. The usual sampling depth of 0-10cm is recorded for all treatment series within the database, while 68% of experiments have STK information from other soil horizons down the profile, usually in 10-cm increments. The BFDC Interrogator, a comprehensive data search and calibration support tool developed for use with the BFDC National Database, was used to examine STK-yield relationships for each crop across Australia, with more detailed analysis by state/region and then by soil type if data were available. The BFDC Interrogator was used to determine a critical STK concentration to achieve 90% of the maximum relative yield (90%RY) for each crop species, with a critical range (determined by the 70% confidence limit for the 90%RY) also reported. The STK for 90%RY for wheat was 40-41mg/kg on Tenosols and Chromosols, ∼49mg/kg on Kandosols, and ∼64mg/kg on Brown Ferrosols. There was some evidence of critical values increasing with increasing crop yield and on soils with no acidity constraints to root growth, with effects presumably driven by increased crop K demand. The STK for 90%RY for canola, grown mainly on Tenosols, was similar to that for wheat, ranging from 43 to 46mg K/kg, but for lupin, also grown mainly on Tenosols, the STK for 90%RY was a relatively low ∼25mg K/kg. Data for sunflower were limited and the STK for 90%RY was poorly defined. A comparison of critical STK concentrations for different crops grown on Tenosols suggested that critical ranges for 90%RY of lupin (22-27mg K/kg) were significantly lower than that for wheat (32-52mg K/kg) and canola (44-49mg K/kg). Critical STK values were not determined for sorghum and faba bean. © CSIRO 2013.

Beveridge I.,University of Melbourne | Besier R.B.,44 Albany Highway
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2013

As an important producer and exporter of livestock products, animal health has always been of major significance to the Australian economy, and research into efficient parasite control has continued since the 1800s. With substantial research achievements also involving parasites of companion animals and wildlife, Australian parasitologists have made numerous contributions of global significance. This summary outlines the development of investigations into parasite biology and parasitic disease in Australia. © 2013.

Speirs S.D.,Graham Center for Agricultural Innovation | Reuter D.J.,Reuter and Associates | Peverill K.I.,K i P Consultancy Services | Brennan R.F.,44 Albany Highway
Crop and Pasture Science | Year: 2013

Australian grain production depends on applied fertiliser, particularly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and to a lesser extent potassium (K) and sulfur (S). Despite this dependence, soil testing is used sparingly as a tool to underpin fertiliser decisions. Some grain producers typically conduct soil tests at least once every 3 years on a selection of individual fields, but it is broadly understood that many grain producers use soil testing rarely or not at all. The choice by many grain producers not to support fertiliser decisions by soil testing relates to several factors. One key factor has been a perception that soil test interpretation criteria, previously published separately before collation by K. I. Peverill, L. A. Sparrow, and D. J. Reuter, may be biased or unreliable. The current paper provides an overview of research findings, presented in this special edition of Crop & Pasture Science, describing a national approach to the collation of all available and statistically valid N, P, K, and S response trials for cereal, oilseed, and pulse crops in Australia. It provides an overview of the process adopted to make this single national dataset available to both the grains and fertiliser industries. The process to build adoption has formed an integral component of the approach, as calibration data derived from the national database are being used to underpin soil test interpretation as part of fertiliser recommendations made through Fertcare to grain producers in Australia. © CSIRO 2013.

Van Burgel A.J.,44 Albany Highway | Oldham C.M.,44 Albany Highway | Behrendt R.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Curnow M.,44 Albany Highway | And 3 more authors.
Animal Production Science | Year: 2011

The liveweight profile of Merino ewes is related to the production and profitability of the sheep enterprise, but few producers measure liveweight to manage the nutrition of Merino ewes. In this paper we examine the relationship between changes in liveweight and condition score using data from the Lifetimewool project and compare condition score and fat score as alternative monitoring tools. Analyses of liveweight and condition score data from 15 flocks of Merino ewes representing a range of different genotypes and environments showed that the relationship between change in liveweight and condition score was on average 9.2 kg per unit change in condition score or 0.19 times the standard reference weight of the flock. In two experiments experienced operators were used to estimate the condition score and fat score in over 200 ewes and accredited ultrasound scanners measured the eye muscle and fat depth at the C site in the same ewes. All assessments were repeated several times in random order. Within 24 h of the assessments the sheep were slaughtered at local abattoirs where the tissue depth at the GR site was measured on the hot carcasses. Both condition score and fat score were highly repeatable though subject to operator bias. They were related to each other and to the objective measures of fat and eye muscle depth at the C site. However, 95% of sheep below condition score 2.5 had a tissue depth (muscle and fat) at the GR site ≤3 mm, by definition equal to fat score 1. As the condition score of ewes on commercial properties often fluctuates between scores 2 and 3, and small changes in condition score within this range can have large effects on welfare and profit, we conclude that condition score is the most appropriate alternative to liveweight for managing the nutritional profile of ewes. © CSIRO 2011.

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