The winter cropping season on the Darling Downs for 2021 is looking very promising due to recent and regular rainfall in June. The last good winter crop season was 2016.
Winter crop planting started as early as mid-May. Chickpeas have been double cropped back into sorghum stubble and also short fallow back into last year’s cereal stubble.
Barley and wheat have been planted into good moisture with regular small rainfall events. This rain has postponed some plantings.
The mice appear to be still active despite wet cold weather. They are more prevalent in native pastures and persisting in no till farming systems where the stubble load is high. Strategic and timely baiting has been carried out with variable results. A shortage of bait has been a problem at opportune times. Most winter crops will be baited after planting and also prior to the grain crops developing grain.
Fungicide programs will need to be implemented this year if regular rain is going to occur. In chickpeas Ascochyta blight (AB) and Botrytis Grey Mould (BGM) will be the main diseases. There are various foliar fungicides registered and permitted for chickpeas in 2021. Discuss your options with your local Pursehouse Rural Agronomist.
Wheat, barley and oats will need to be monitored for disease also. A fungicide program is also a good idea. The main diseases in wheat on the Darling Downs are Stripe Rust and Yellow Leaf Spot. The main barley diseases are Powdery Mildew, Net Blotch, Net Form and Net Blotch Spot Form. Plant varieties with good resistance to these diseases and avoid planting back into cereal stubble where possible.
Fallow paddocks have been sprayed recently to control weeds. Flaxleaf Fleabane has been present in most fallows. Residual products such as Atrazine can be considered to prevent further germinations. Some other pre-emergent herbicides like Metalachlor, may also be considered to control summer grasses such as Feather Top Rhodes Grass and Liverseed Grass. Be aware of plantbacks with some products to certain summer crops.
Soil tests have been conducted recently to determine the fertility of the soil. General trends seem to be high residual levels of Nitrogen after drought conditions and poor crops. Phosphorous and Zinc levels appear to be low on the more Alkaline soils. A maintenance rate of starter fertiliser is a good start and there has been some deep P placement on some farms with good success for summer crops.
Topdressing Nitrogen in cereal crops could be an option this year if good rain is expected. Discuss your options with your local Pursehouse Rural Agronomist. Some options are broadcasting granular Urea and spraying UAN on with Streamjet nozzles and incorporated by either rainfall or irrigation.
By Nick Park – Agronomist – Pursehouse Rural Melrose 0428 618 570
Find your local Pursehouse Rural branch and agronomist at www.pursehouserural.com.au/locations