Researchers at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) are participating in a long-term research project to increase the yield of grains in high rainfall zones such as Tasmania.
TIA Research Fellows, Dr Angela Merry and Associate Professor Tina Acuña, are leading the Tasmanian component of this southern Australian research project ‘Optimising the yield and economic potential of high-input cropping systems in the high-rainfall zone’.
The project is co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and led by Dr Penny Riffkin from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.
Dr Merry conducted field experiments at TIA’s Research Facility at Cressy with a focus on improving the yield performance of wheat grown in Tasmanian conditions. She specifically looked at how a plant’s leaf architecture contributes to yield.
“During 2016, we conducted field experiments involving wheat lines with differing levels of leaf erectness to assess how the germplasm behaves in our environment. The aim was to assess whether lines with more erect leaves would perform better in Tasmanian conditions than varieties with floppier leaves (planophile lines),” Dr Merry said.
“We anticipated that lines with more erect leaves would intercept more solar radiation which would translate into increased grain yield. We are only in the early stages of research, but preliminary findings from the Tasmanian experiments have gone against this assumption.
“Based on the 2016 experiments, we actually found that plants with more prostrate leaves produced a higher yield than plants with a more erect leaf. This contrasted with mainland sites where the opposite trend was observed. Our results indicate there is a potential interaction between sites and lines for leaf type.”
This research is an example of the important work that goes on behind the scenes to identify long-term solutions to increase the productivity and profitability of the grains industry in Australia.
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This project was funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation.