Analysis of historic rainfall characteristics for robust wheat cropping in North Anhui

Hui Su, Yibo Wu, Yulei Zhu, Youhong Song

Anhui Agricultural University, School of Agronomy, Hefei, 233036. Corresponding email:


Northern part of Anhui is one of major wheat producing areas in China. The total amount of rainfall is sufficient for wheat season; however, it is unevenly distributed at the different growth stages, resulting in risk of yield losses. In order to optimise the cultivation in North Anhui, it is essential to characterise the rainfall pattern for wheat growth particularly in the critical period (i.e. the months of sowing and harvesting). By analysing the rainfall data from 1955 to 2017, this study characterised the rainfall pattern from six sites representing different regions of North Anhui. The frequency of continuous rainfall days during sowing and harvesting periods were quantified based on 63 years rainfall distribution. The characterisation of rainfall in six representative sites in North Anhui were able to be used to guide wheat sowing and harvesting, which could help farmers to make decisions and avoid likelihood of cropping risks.


Mitigating the effects of high temperature on leaf net photosynthetic rate and grain yield by spraying two reagents

Min Li, Kaixia Ding, Qianfei Wei, Xiaohan Yin, Yulei Zhu, Jincai Li, Youhong Song*

Anhui Agricultural University, School of Agronomy, Anhui province, Hefei, 233036. Corresponding email:


High temperature in the grain-filling stage of winter wheat is one of the important meteorological disasters that has a great influence on growth characteristics and grain yield. The purpose of this study was to mitigate the effects of high temperature on wheat production by selecting useful chemical reagents and suitable spraying time. In 2017-18, wheat varieties i.e. Huaimai 33 and Annong 0711 were used to study the alleviating effects of spraying two reagents in different time periods (prior to, during and post high temperature treatment, HTT) in grain-filling stage. The Pn, SPAD, 1000-grain weight and yield of wheat under high temperature could be improved by spraying Epibrassinolide (BR) and KH2PO4, and spraying KH2PO4 had the better effect compared to BR in alleviating the harm caused by high temperature. The time to spray prior to HTT, or post has better effects compared to spray during HTT.

Quinoa in the Riverina

David Troldahl1, Richard Snowball2, Harmohinder Dhammu3 and Mario D’Antuono2

1 NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yanco Agricultural Institute, Yanco, NSW 2703.,

WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, 75 York Rd, 2 South Perth and 3Northam, WA 6401.


Quinoa can potentially be grown in Australia as a summer or winter crop and as a complementary crop within existing cropping programs depending on soil type, rainfall and environment. A national project “Quinoa as a new crop in Australia” co-funded by the AgriFutures and state Departments of Primary Industry (DPI) and Agriculture (DA) explored this potential at experimental sites in South Australia (Naracoorte), Northern Territory (Katherine and Alice Springs), Western Australia (Cunderdin, Eradu, Esperance, Geraldton, Katanning and Kununurra) and New South Wales (Leeton Field Station). The paper reports on the experiments at Leeton Field Station in the Riverina region of NSW .

Variety evaluation experiments were conducted in two years to determine a range of agronomic recommendations for growing quinoa in the Riverina. Preliminary research highlighted a sowing window between December and March, a sowing density of around 7kg/ha and identified key varieties that matched local industry needs.

Evaluating gypsum and polyacrylamide use on irrigated pasture in northern Victoria

Andrew Sneyd

 Ancon-Agri 26 Clarence St. Shepparton, Vic, 3630,


The purpose of this research was to investigate the application of varying rates of gypsum and the liquid formulation polyacrylamide (PAM) Flobond™ on a ryegrass and shaftal clover pasture to determine the effects on germination and pasture yield in northern Victoria. Eight treatments were applied post sowing and incorporated with irrigation. Three treatments of gypsum alone, Flobond™ alone and with gypsum also the untreated control. The results of this trial found that rates of 5t/ha and 10t/ha of gypsum applied alone did reduce the establishment of the Turbo cv. shaftal clover (Trifolium resupinatum). No other treatments reduced the establishment of either the Turbo cv. clover or the Jackpot cv. ryegrass (Lolium Multiflorum).

Pasture yield was estimated by taking four biomass cuts during the trial which ran from March to November 2018. The treatments which had reduced clover establishment were able to compensate in yield by the first biomass cut 53 days after treatment (DAT). There was no statistical difference between treatments at either a biomass cut or cumulatively during the trial. The treatments of Flobond™ alone and with lower more economic rates of gypsum did have higher yields which show potential for further work with other formulations of PAM to reduce the costs of amending soil structure and improving water infiltration. The liquid formulation of Flobond™ was difficult to apply which may limit its potential use in this market.

Soil Compaction Survey and Sampling of Dairy Farms in the Goulburn Valley

Andrew Sneyd

Ancon-Agri, 26 Clarence St. Shepparton, Vic 3630


The objectives of this survey and sampling were to quantify the levels of soil compaction in Goulburn valley loams and identify if these levels may have be reducing pasture growth in 2017. The survey also sought to find the extent of soil compaction caused by high stocking rates of cattle on dairy pastures in 2016. Eleven farms across the Goulburn valley were selected to be representative of differing areas in the valley. These farms were selected because they had a paddock(s) which had been severely impacted by large numbers of cattle where pasture had been destroyed and the soil structure damaged. Soil Bulk density (BD) in g/cm3 was measured to indicate the level of soil compaction in the paddocks with severely impacted soil and compared with areas of the same or similar soil type where there had been little or no effect on the soil from cattle. These paddocks were analysed for soil fertility, pH and salinity. The paddocks were identified by soil type and group. Typically the soils tested were loams or sandy loams which were able to withstand high stocking rates. On average these soils had low calcium to magnesium ratios and low levels of sodium. The BD levels were measured at two depths, 0-10 cm (surface soil) and 10-20 cm (root zone). This study found that for 80% of the farms sampled, BD in the 10-20 cm zone was 1.6g/cm3 or greater. According to Taylor and Brar (1991) at this level of BD plant root growth can be severely inhibited because the soil is so tightly compacted. Analysis of the relationships between BD and calcium, sodium, soil type, soil texture and soil organic carbon (SOC) found that the correlation of BD with SOC was reasonably strong while all the other correlations were weak. This meant that where the SOC content was high the BD levels were low. When BD was plotted against SOC for both the compacted and non-compacted soils a difference of around 8% was consistently found which is attributed to the effect of the cattle.

A phone survey was undertaken to sample fifty dairy farmers in the Goulburn valley to investigate the methods used to prevent damage to pasture and remediate the soil from damage caused by cattle. The survey also sort to find the level of understanding on the impact of soil compaction on pasture production. Prevention of soil damage by the cattle was by far the most popular method using feed pads, sacrifice paddocks and non-arable land. Prevention methods were regarded as the best method of moderating lost production from excessively wet conditions. Very little work was done to remediate soil and the farmers’ understanding of the impact of soil compaction was low.

Effects of in-crop nitrogen application on grain yield of wheat under waterlogged conditions

Dilnee Suraweera1, Fiona Robertson1, Malcolm McCaskill1, Brendan Christy2, Roger Armstrong3, Debra Partington1, Reto Zollinger1, John Byron1, Steve Clark1

1Agriculture Victoria Research, 915 Mt Napier Rd, Hamilton Victoria 3300, Australia
2Agriculture Victoria Research, 124 Chiltern Valley Rd, Rutherglen Victoria 3685, Australia
3Agriculture Victoria Research, 110 Natimuk Rd, Horsham Victoria 340, Australia


Waterlogging is a major constraint for wheat production in the high-rainfall zone (HRZ) of south-eastern Australia. During waterlogging, significant quantities of nitrogen (N) derived from fertilisers can be lost, reducing potential supply to the crop. A field experiment was conducted to quantify the effectiveness of different in-crop N application rates in reducing the effects of pre-anthesis waterlogging on wheat grain yield. The experiment was designed with two water regimes (waterlogged and rainfed) and four rates of in-crop N (urea) fertiliser (nil N, 70,140 and 210 kg N ha-1). The waterlogged regime was irrigated from mid-tillering (GS23) to flag-leaf emergence (GS39). In-crop N fertiliser rates were split; 70% at early-tillering (GS21) and 30% at flag-leaf emergence. At grain maturity, tiller number, ear number, above-ground biomass, grain yield and harvest index were determined. Results demonstrated that tiller numbers, ear numbers, above-ground biomass, grain number and grain yield significantly increased with increasing rates of N applied compared to nil N under both water regimes. Pre-anthesis waterlogging significantly delayed heading, anthesis and maturity (3-5 days) and significantly reduced tiller numbers (21%), ear numbers (11%) and above-ground biomass at anthesis (15%). This reduction was less under high N rates. Adequate soil moisture availability for grain filling in a dry spring followed by pre-anthesis waterlogging significantly increased grains per ear (24%) and this increase was greater at high rates of N application. Grain yield and above-ground biomass at maturity were not significantly affected by waterlogging at low N rates but increased 8-17% at high N rates. Pre-anthesis waterlogging significantly reduced grain protein content at low N rates but there was no significant effect of waterlogging on grain protein content at high N rates due to increased N uptake. Overall, adequate supply of N fertilizer before and after waterlogging can alleviate the detrimental effect of pre-anthesis waterlogging on wheat grain production.

Mapping cotton fields using phenology-based metrics derived from a time series of Landsat imagery

Dhahi Al-Shammari1, Thomas F.A. Bishop1, Ignacio Fuentes1, Patrick Filippi1

1 Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life & Environmental Science, The University of Sydney, Central Ave, Eveleigh, Sydney, New South Wales, 2015


A phenology-based crop type classification was carried out to map cotton in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. The workflow was implemented in Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform as it is time efficient and does not require processing in multiple platforms to complete the classification steps. A time-series of images were generated from Landsat 8 Surface Reflectance (L8SR) data. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)time series was calculated from satellite specifically Landsat imagery and a Harmonic Model (HM) was fitted to it to produce the Harmonised NDVI (H-NDVI). Phase and amplitude images were generated to visualise active cotton in the targeted fields. These images were used as predictor variables with H-NDVI and other raw bands in the Random Forest (RF) classification model. The results of RF proved that both phase and amplitude increased the accuracy of the classification. Moreover, cotton classification accuracy increased as the season progressed.  

Canopeo, a new mobile device application with potential to measure seed colour change in canola

Rick Graham1*, Rohan Brill2, Rodney Bambach1, Jan Hosking1, Neroli Graham1

1NSW DPI, Tamworth Agricultural Institute, 4 Marsden Park Road, Tamworth 2340, Australia,

2NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga 2650, Australia

*Presenting author:


Seed colour change (SCC) is commonly used to determine windrow timing in canola, it is however often regarded as being subjective and time consuming. The aim of this research was to compare SCC measurements using a standardised visual assessment procedure with Canopeo, a new mobile device application commonly used to measure fractional green canopy cover. Windrow timing experiments were conducted at Tamworth in northern NSW, in 2017 and 2018, with SCC measurements undertaken at 2-3 day intervals from the commencement of SCC on the primary stem up until 100% SCC on branches. Pictures of seed at each windrow timing were analysed by Canopeo and then compared to a standardised visual assessment measurement. There was a linear relationship (R2 = 0.93 to 0.95) between SCC measured using the mobile device application Canopeo and the detailed visual assessment method. Canopeo was also between 10 and 20 times faster than the visual assessment procedure. These results indicate that Canopeo can be used to take pictures to measure SCC and may be a viable alternative for determining SCC and hence windrow timing in canola crops. Importantly, Canopeo offers the potential for a rapid standardised objective measurement for determining SCC, thereby alleviating issues around subjectivity commonly associated with visual assessment methods and as such, is considered a useful new technique for the determination of SCC in canola.

The role of indeterminate growth, rooting depth and maturity time in establishing a legume seedbank under drought conditions

Belinda Hackney1, 3, Simon Flinn1, 3, Jeff McCormick2, 3, John Piltz1, 3, Susan Orgill1, 3

1 NSW Department of Primary Industries, PMB, Pine Gully Rd, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650

2 School of Agriculture and Wine Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650

3 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries, Pugsley Place, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650


Drought can be catastrophic to pasture establishment resulting in establishment failure and financial loss.  A range of annual legumes with varying characteristics (capacity for extended periods of indeterminate growth, varying rooting depth and differing maturity times) were sown in a replicated trial near Kikoira in central NSW where growing season rainfall was only 44% of the long term average. Biserrula, an indeterminate, deep-rooted legume produced more than 170 kg seed/ha with one-third produced prior to the end of October.  French serradella, another indeterminate, deep-rooted species but of later maturity in our study produced more than 85 kg seed/ha. The early maturing gland clover was the most successful of the shallow-rooted species in producing seed, although its seed yield was significantly less than either biserrula or French serradella. Subterranean clover failed to produce seed and annual medics produced less than 10 kg seed/ha. Trifolium diffusum, a little-known species, produced 120 kg seed/ha and requires further assessment of potential. Overall, species with capacity for extended periods of indeterminate growth, deep root systems and/or early maturity were the most successful in establishing a seed bank under severe drought conditions.

Pollen fatty acid composition associated with heat tolerance of tropical rice

Charissa Rixon1, Surya Bhattarai1, Ben Ovenden2 and Kerry Walsh1

 1CQUniversity Australia, CQIRP, North Rockhampton QLD 4702,
2NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650


A nascent rice industry is expanding in Northern Australia. For this industry to be sustainable, it is critical that abiotic stressors are understood and managed. In particular, yield losses due to heat stress causing spikelet sterility will need to be managed through the development of heat tolerant rice varieties. Understanding the physiology of superior heat tolerant genotypes will be important in breeding efforts.  Six selected rice genotypes grown under controlled environment growth cabinets under standard, transient and prolonged heat treatments were evaluated for spikelet sterility and fatty acid composition of the anthers.  Nagina 22, was the only genotype that demonstrated heat tolerance across transient and prolonged heat stress, with low and moderate spikelet sterility, respectively. Other genotypes (Hayayuki, Teqing, Sasanishiki, Lemont and Moroberekan) showed severe spikelet sterility with prolonged heat stress. Nagina 22 also consistently showed significantly higher level of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids levels and concentration of 16 and 18 C fatty acids than the other genotypes. The fatty acid content and the composition of the anther tissue may be linked with heat tolerance, expressed as low spikelet sterility at higher temperature in rice.



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 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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