FAR’s annual round-ups are a chance for arable growers and industry reps 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 explained that while nitrogen (N) is 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 N losses to the atmosphere and water.
“Reducing nitrogen use on arable farms can reduce costs, reduce N 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 N 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.
Other topics discussed included:
- cereal cultivar choice for disease management,
- BYDV (barley yellow dwarf virus) management,
- ramularia leaf spot management in barley,
- herbicide resistance.