Optimising sowing time in frost prone environments is key to unlocking yield potential of wheat

Brenton Leske1, Dion Nicol2, Ben Biddulph1

1 The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, WA, 6151, Brenton.leske@agric.wa.gov.au

2 The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Great Eastern Highway, Merredin, WA, 6415


Spring frosts can cause significant grain yield losses to cereal crops post head emergence. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between sowing time, flowering time, frost and wheat maturity on grain yield. The results from two frost phenotyping nurseries in the central wheat belt of Western Australian wheat belt at Brookton in 2015 and Dale in 2016 are presented in this paper. Eight sowing dates were used from mid-April to late June to ensure wheat was flowering throughout the frost window, so that varietal comparisons could be made under frost. Grain yields in 2015 at Brookton and 2016 at Dale, Western Australia. were optimised when head emergence and flowering occurred during the most frequent frost period in spring. These results suggest that yield formation through biomass accumulation and converting this into yield, as well as interactions with frost, terminal drought and heat stress are as important in frost prone areas of the landscape as in other areas. In both years, despite very different growing conditions, the optimum sowing windows for short, mid, long and winter type maturity wheats were consistent across both years.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

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David Marland Photography david_marland@hotmail.com Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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