Show must go on for trial plots in spite of dry

Show must go on for trial plots in spite of dry

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Birchip Cropping Group research agronomists Tariq Gerardi and Brooke Bennett with a recently sown trial at Watchupga, north-west of Birchip.

Birchip Cropping Group research agronomists Tariq Gerardi and Brooke Bennett with a recently sown trial at Watchupga, north-west of Birchip.

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While many farmers in north-west Victoria have halted their sowing program due to the dry, Birchip Cropping Group is marching on with trials

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Conditions through north-west Victoria, eastern South Australia and south-western NSW remain bone dry after a cold front that delivered good rain over Gippsland and south-eastern NSW this week failed to deliver meaningful totals.

According to medium range forecasts there is no significant rain in the outlook for the next 14 days as optimum sowing times slide by.

It has seen many croppers slow up on their sowing programs with some pulling up altogether until there is a chance of breaking rain, concerned crops could germinate on limited moisture and then die, along with the rising risk of mice eating the seed, which is higher in dry sown situations.

However, research groups remain full steam ahead, with trial plots needing to go in.

Birchip Cropping Group staff were busy last week at the Hinkley family's property at Watchupga, north-west of Birchip, where a number of wheat trials were being planted.

James Murray, Birchip Cropping Group research manager with a time of sowing trial that has been irrigated to get germination in spite of dry conditions in the Mallee.

James Murray, Birchip Cropping Group research manager with a time of sowing trial that has been irrigated to get germination in spite of dry conditions in the Mallee.

One of the few flecks of green in the area is the group's time of sowing trial which has been irrigated using domestic dripper lines to enable it to germinate at the right time for the purposes of the trial.

With over 110 trials and thousands of trial plots it is a busy time for staff in spite of the lack of rain.

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