KOBER Agronomic Team
KOBER’s agronomic consulting service ‘InVigorate Ag’ is the leading agronomy advisory service in your area that offers real solutions to achieve your maximum potential. KOBER is an independent business with a professional, experienced and diverse range of consultants. We provide proactive on farm agronomy in a package tailored to your needs.
KOBER’s comprehensive agronomic field support includes but not limited to: farm and crop rotation planning; in field weed, disease and pest scouting; analysing crop and soil nutrition whilst providing fully recorded spray or treatment recommendations. This is also supported by providing profitability analysis such as benchmarking, cash flow, forecasting and gross margin analysis. Priority access to field trips, research and discussion sessions are also one of the many benefits provided with our ‘InVigorate Ag’ package.
What sets our agronomic consulting service ‘InVigorate Ag’ apart;
When establishing pasture it is critical to have the correct nutrients immediately available to the seedlings. By correctly placing your starter fertiliser, a yield increase of up to 55% can be achieved for no extra cost.
We all know Phosphorous is essential for plant growth, it is critical to have it readily available in the early stages of development to help roots and seedlings develop more rapidly, improve cold tolerance, increase water use efficiency, disease resistance and plant quality.
What is not commonly known is that in clay soils Phosphorous stays very close to where it is placed. For this reason and shown in the above table, drilling it with your pasture seed instead of broadcasting is by far the preferred method.
Modern sowing implements are supplied with fertiliser bins for a reason. Make sure it gets used this season. Don’t be lazy!
Sam Toulmin - Senior Agronomist
- Kate Burke, Think Agri
Twenty years ago, the climate scientists predicted increased rainfall variability, increased summer rainfall, higher temperatures and more storms. Recent history suggests they are on the money. By being nimble and flexible most growers have adapted to this increasingly variable climate. There are still some profits left in the paddock, particularly in favourable seasons. So what can you do to make sure you don’t leave any profit in the paddock? A recent survey has shown the 20% most profitable farms had a financial surplus double that of the average. That means 80% of farms have profits still to be exploited. Consider these 10 cropping tips for extracting maximum profits from the paddock.
1. Crop selection. As for a wellmanaged share portfolio, a wellstructured cropping rotation is the building block of prosperity. The price of a commodity in March is not correlated to its price post-harvest, favouring higher priced riskier crops at the expense of a balanced rotation rarely pays dividends and actually creates more risk. Last autumn, barley prices were flat but by harvest they were close to wheat.
2. Stored moisture and nitrogen is the cheapest insurance. Research has shown that spraying summer and autumn weeds conserves moisture and Nitrogen provides excellent return on investment (in most cases more than $3 for every $1 spend and in some cases more than 10 to 1 return).
3. Maximise the length of your growing season. It’s not the starting date but the finish date that’s important with sowing time. Crops can forego 4 to 7 % yield loss per week sown after the optimum date (e.g 200 kg/ha/week for a 3t/ ha crop). Plan a finish date and work towards that.
4. Measure nitrogen and water supply before the season starts. Deep N soil testing is a great investment. Last year, soil N supply in 4 paddocks were 70,150, 270 and 450 kg/ha N on the one farm. N limited yield potential was 1.6,3.2, 5.1 and 10 t/ha respectively! That’s a lot of yield variability before rainfall is considered.
5. Monitor 0-10 cm P levels while you are at it. Many farms oversupply P and undersupply N. By knowing your P levels, the P fertiliser budget can be trimmed and reallocated to the N budget. Conversely, on farms converting from grazing to cropping, P levels may be restricting crop yield potential.
6. pH also sets yield potential. Managing low pH with lime removes a cap on yield potential. Liming to soil type can increase the return on investment of this exercise.
7. The crops in the ground- know your yield potential. Protect it with good agronomy and tailored N applications! We don’t know the season’s outcome, but we can estimate yield potential based on stored soil moisture, growing season rainfall thus far and test dry, medium and wet scenarios going forward. 1000 ha of crop could be worth $1M depending on crop mix and dryland/irrigation mix. Too much money is at stake to use gut feel alone when making Nitrogen application decisions. Last season, forecasted yields were within 20% of actual yield.
8. Repeat yield potential scenario analysis before major spending decisions or after rain events. Factor in other limitations to yield potential (disease, weed competition, pests).
9. The proof is in the pudding. Check protein performance in previous years to see how your N management is tracking. Consistently low proteins ( <10%) indicate that N supply is less than N demand. Consistently high proteins (>12%) and high screenings indicate N supply is higher than N demand.
10. Protect your yield potential to the end of the season! It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
While this article focuses on the paddock story, good financial management including managing overhead costs such as machinery investment is equally important!
Reference: https://grdc.com.au/__data/assets/ pdf_file/0028/98632/summer-fallow-weedmanagement- manual.pdf.pdf
Rosa Jauregui, Gentos Breeding Manager
During September, KOBER agronomist Jono Fenwick spent 10 days visiting the Gentos & Forage Genetics Research stations, commercial dairy and cattle farms in the Pampas region of Argentina. The purpose of the study tour was to find out about the latest research and developments on lucerne, fescue and other forage species.
“Due to a similar climate, Argentina is a great country for breeding, selecting and trialling improved forage species and varieties especially for disease resistance. There is an increase in varieties performing very well in our environment that have come from breeding programs in Argentina,” Jono said.
Many trial sites were inspected on the study tour.
Gentos Continental Tall Fescue yield trial; 4 year trial for data collection on seasonal and total forage production, phenology and plant health, including SF Royal Q 100 that performs in our region.
Gentos Companion Species Technical Development trial; Lucerne and Mediterranean Tall fescue blends for year round forage production.
Gentos Smart Grazing Trial; Lucerne grazing trial based on ‘Thermal Time’ where traditional grazing is at 500 degrees days this trial is reducing to 400 degree days during spring and summer and back to 500 degree days during autumn and winter. Using two different lucerne dormancies, this is being measured for DM production, persistence, root biomass plus other interactions & measurements.
Gentos Agronomic Brome Grass Trial; looking at different annual & bi-annual bromus including seasonal and total production. Keep an eye out for ‘Texas’ bromus auleticus in years to come. Gentos Grazing Tolerant Lucerne Trials; Quality v Quantity looking at leaf/stem ratios and stem diameters, animal preference, grazing frequencies, companion grasses to complement Lucerne in grazing situation.
Forage Genetics persistence trial with some excellent experimental lines, one in particular that will go into production this year.
Forage Genetics variety comparison trial; a replicated trial showcasing many commercial varieties of Lucerne and experimental lines including 714 QL and SARDI7 Lucerne varieties.
KOBER continues to source cutting edge agronomic technology from around the world to bring back and benefit local farmers and growers.
Summer News 2018