Exploring beneficial G x E x M interactions for improved production and increased yields

29 May, 2018

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CSD’s Ambassador Network program* has now completed four seasons of crop data analysis and benchmarking – a significant dataset relating to cotton growth and development generated across all major growing regions. Complimenting this dataset is CSD’s long running variety trial program, which in 2018 saw 85 trial sites conducted across 11 regions.

The introduction of Bollgard®3 and the associated benefits of an extended planting window, opportunities for industry expansion and greater yield potential raises the question – can we explore and identify the potential for regional and varietal management packages or techniques to maximise efficient production, yield and quality?

Investigating the interaction of genetics (variety) x environment (location/climate – things we can’t manage) x management (all the things we can influence) down to a regional level using robust statistical methods, will add value to growers and consultants in managing new varieties.

CSD have partnered with CSIRO in a project involving statisticians, a weather and climate scientist and a technologist/metrologist, to analyse the extensive CSD dataset with the aim of improving our understanding and identification of statistically significant regional growth characteristics, climatic interactions and/or management influence down to a regional level.

The project is still in its early days; however one short term aim is to validate existing growth targets (or if the data determines, alternative growth targets) to assist management and explore questions such as:

• Do different regions, varieties, planting windows etc. require different growth targets at key stages? E.g., mid squaring, first flower, cut out.
• Can we identify any consistent ‘green light’ or ‘red light’ scenarios, conditions or characteristics which allow for tools, models or simple monitoring and management decisions to be made with more confidence through the season?

CSD’s Extension & Development Agronomy team are currently working with CSIRO as they undertake the analysis and modelling of the dataset; with a plan to discuss preliminary outcomes at the upcoming Cotton Management Tour.

By Chris Teague, Extension & Development Agronomist – Border Rivers and Balonne

*CSD’s Ambassador Network program is an initiative of the Extension & Development Agronomy team which explores the interaction of management techniques and conditions that contribute to achieving consistently high yielding crops.

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