The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is conducting sorghum national variety trials (NVT) for the first time this year.
Wholly funded by the GRDC on behalf of Australian grain growers, the sorghum NVT will evaluate varieties for 10 crops over 650 trials across Australia.
GRDC Northern Panel chairman John Minogue said in July 2017 the GRDC Northern Panel approved an investment proposal of $2.5 million over five years to design and implement a sorghum NVT program.
“The sorghum NVT program was developed in response to requests from growers, who had identified and requested independent variety performance data to help them make more informed on-farm decisions about sorghum varieties,” Mr Minogue said.
“This program is designed to provide standardised, wide-scale performance data to help growers understand how different sorghum lines perform in different environmental conditions, and make informed decisions about what might work best in their region and importantly in their paddock.”
The first year of trials has included all of the independent sorghum breeding/commercialisation companies in Australia, with 24 commercial and experimental lines represented at each of the trial sites.
A total of 15 of the 21 sites were planted by the first week of November, 2017, including on the Liverpool Plains where trial sites were planted in the Mullaley, Premer and Caroona regions.
Mr Minogue said the program was an example of GRDC responding to requests from growers for regionally and locally validated work and would help growers make more informed choices about sorghum varieties on-farm.
“It has been a very hot and dry summer in many areas where the trial sites have been planted, but at the trial site on Lambrook, in the Mullaley region the sorghum looked impressive, especially given the seasonal conditions,” Mr Minogue said.
The GRDC national variety trials program is the largest co-ordinated field trial network of its kind anywhere in the world, and generates highly valuable crop comparisons for agronomic performance, grain yields, disease and pest resistance and physical grain quality traits.
Since December 2017, a GRDC team has assumed full responsibility for the operations, control and delivery of NVT work.
The shift to in-house of the management responsibilities will enable NVT information to be more rapidly streamlined into other GRDC research and development work/programs.