‘Tis the season, for sowing that it is!
It’s full steam ahead at SFS, it’s sowing season! It certainly feels like this time of year comes around quicker and quicker each year. While it is busy, it is always exciting see what trials we’re doing this year and what the season might turn out like.
So far, it has been a dry start to April compared to last season. Although we have only sown our first few trials late last week, plenty has still been going on at the shed. We have been busy treating fertilizer and seed, labelling envelopes and packing seed.
There is quite an art to packing seed, every variety’s sowing rate is calculated based on its germination percentage and it’s one thousand seed weight. The sowing rate is then used to help us work out how many grams of seed is needed per plot, this can be as precise as 2 decimals places, especially in canola!
Our seed packing envelopes are different sizes to reflect what crop is put in them. The larger envelopes have faba beans, wheat and barley packed into them. While the smaller ones have canola, which is often a tiny amount. We also inoculate the faba beans right before sowing, as otherwise the inoculant will make the envelope go all soggy and can mean the seeds fall out, which we definitely don’t want.
Once the seed is packed, we will put the seed in serpentine order and place it into cartridges which are then taken out to the seeder to be sown. Each envelope packed represents one trial plot and it is tipped into the cone when we reach the “trip” line. Then it goes down the tubes and sown into the ground. This process is then repeated for each plot, until the whole trial is sown! Some trials can be a small as 8 rows or as big was 44. Trial size is reflective of how many treatments there is or how many internal buffers are in place.