It’s not all small plot seeding for the SFS operations team
While small plot trials are the focus for the SFS seeding program there are some larger areas, what we call bulk areas, that are also sown. The crop rotation from season to season is like large scale farming, except in our situation we also need to consider trials as a part of the rotation too. Small plot trials will always follow a bulk crop. Trials will not be sown on trials without a break. The main reason for this is the carry over affect treatments within a trial could still have on that area in the following season.
Across our three permanent trial sites of Inverleigh, Streatham, and the new Rokewood pasture site we have been busy sowing some of these areas to bulk. Canola has gone in at Inverleigh with spring wheat still to follow, and canola and barley have been sown at Streatham. Phalaris will be sown at Rokewood in the area surrounding the small plot pasture variety trials.
For most of our members, these areas are much smaller than even an average paddock size, with the bulk area of all three sites totalling less than 25ha. But with a 1.6m cone seeder that has a fertiliser box capacity of around 100kg, it would take a good couple of weeks to cover this area. Fortunately through our Premier Partners Swayn & McCabe CLAAS Harvest Centre, SFS have loan of a 3m Vaderstad Rapid drill to make this job easier.
We are also appreciative of our farmer co-operators and site hosts who go a long way to helping us obtain seed, and in some cases sow areas with their gear to help us speed up the process. Big thank you to the Hamilton and Weatherly families for all your help.