Trials Review Day debrief

Craig Scanlan, DAFWA, discusses phosphorous availability with members during the concurrent sessions.

Monday 11th February saw around 30 people attend our Trials Review Day. The interactive day presented a range of topics offering a more in-depth discussion of trials from the 2012 season. The new format with concurrent table sessions allowed for plenty of questions to be asked, providing value to both the Liebe members and the researchers.

Table one hosted Peter Burgess and Matt Davey from Kalyx who covered the longterm results from National Variety Trials in the Liebe area. This generated plenty of discussion about performance of varieties and variability throughout the sites.

David Cameron, Farmanco, is also a member of the Australian Glyphosate Resistance Working Group which has been looking at herbicide control of fencelines and preventing the onset of glyphosate resistance in these weed populations. With 1/3 glyphosate resistant ryegrass populations found on fencelines plenty of discussion was generated around the efficacy of different treatments.

Another focus was the Profitable Crop Sequence project, looking at 188 paddocks throughout the state including 30 in the Liebe area. Wayne Parker from DAFWA showed the differences between Liebe farmers and the rest of the state. Results showed area sown to canola had doubled to 20% last year in comparison to the 2011 season at the expense of choosing a lupin rotation. Current rotation plans seem to reflect need for a weed break with crop choice focused on profit.

Soil acidity proved to be a topical area, approached from a number of angles with acidity impacting research covered by Steven Davies, Chris Gazey and Craig Scanlan, DAFWA. Subsoil acidity along with weeds and non-wetting topsoils were addressed by Steve Davies who talked about mouldboard ploughing and spading. An increasingly popular tool for the restoration of soils with these problems Steve shared his knowledge focusing on trials conducted in collaboration with the group. Discussion covered the pros and cons of the treatments and how to prevent issues such as recompaction and erosion.

Chris Gazey focused on liming to improve soil pH after conducting numerous trials in the Liebe area over the years. Discussed aspects involved the impacts of acidic soils with lime applications not moving down the soil profile until the topsoil reaches a pH of 5.5. pH levels below 4.5 result in increased aluminum availability, unfavorable for good root growth.

Craig Scanlan covered phosphorous and the impact of soil acidity on its availability. Lime significantly increases access to background soil phosphorous with ideal pH over 5.5. When the pH is below 4.8 yield penalties occur.

For more information please visit our website or contact Clare Johnston at the Liebe Group office on 9661 0570 or email

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