GRAIN industry experts are warning planting seed supplies, particularly varieties popular in NSW and Queensland, could be short next year, with widespread drought affecting on-farm production and storage.
At the annual AgQuip grains industry breakfast, an initiative of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC), DPI senior plant pathologist, Dr Steven Simpfendorfer warned last years stored seed needed to be looked after if it was still to be viable for 2019 plant.
“The issue is going to be sourcing decent seed for 2019, it is something to think about now as it can have big repercussions for recovery after drought,” he said.
“If you don’t have good seed in the ground, both germination and vigour, it’s not going to help you out.”
Dr Simpfendorfer said while there would be some fresh 2018 seed available, it would be limited to areas which have had some rain.
“You need to have that conversation now, you don’t want that seed going into receival when it could be really good planting seed,” he said.
“Sourcing your sowing seed from a grain accumulator is not a great idea, the purity is not going to be there, you may have a mix of varieties.
“Seed suppliers may be more expensive, but they are a very good option, because what you will get is some certification of both purity, germination and vigour.”
Dr Simpfendrofer said in his conversations with seed companies, early sown, longer season wheat varieties are going to be particularly short, so it was important for growers to get in contact with suppliers now.
“They are trying to get a handle on how much will be needed,” he said.
Dr Simpfendorfer said another option would be to bring in seed from out of the region, however those varieties may have less tolerance to to northern environments and diseases, such as nematodes and crown rot.
“If you bring things from down south, you are going to find disease resistance quite different, particularly in relation to stripe rust,” he said.
“You also want to be careful what weed seed you bring with it and whether there are any seed borne diseases.”
Dr Simpfendorfer said for growers planning to used stored seed from 2017, they would need to look at how it was stored and have it tested.
“You have to test it for germination and vigour, just because you kept it doesn’t mean it is the best thing to put in the ground,” he said.
Dr Simpfendorfer said if the germination and vigour was good now, care needed to be taken to keep it that way over summer by ensuring good storage practices are maintained.
Also speaking at the grains industry breakfast, DPI pathologist, Kevin Moore said significant levels of treated chickpea seed remained on farm following a lack of planting conditions.
“That seed is worth $33 million to the industry, so look after it, new chickpea seed for 2019 is likely to be scarce,” he said.
Dr Moore said chickpea seed needed to be stored at low moisture, between 11 and 13 per cent and below thirty degrees to remain viable, he urged growers to have their planting seed tested.
“There is a chickpea testing service available through NSW DPI at Tamworth paid for by your taxes and GRDC levy,” he said.
“Germination is only one part, with chickpeas it simply tells you the seed is alive, it is a poor predictor of emergence, or vigour.
“Stick it in the 2019 paddock, count the number that come up and have a look at the quality of the seedlings.”
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