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Title: Irrigation schesduling in wheat
Authors: Peake, Allan
Issue Date: 31-May-2012
Publisher: Cotton Catchment Communities CRC
Abstract: Wheat is nearly exclusively a dryland crop in the northern grains region of Australia (bounded in the south by Dubbo in New South Wales, and in the north by Emerald in central Queensland (GRDC 2010)). Cotton has traditionally been the favoured irrigation crop in the region, due to its higher profitability in comparison to wheat. In seasons of favourable water supply and prices, up to 400,000 ha of cotton has been produced in these irrigated areas (ANRA 2009). Wheat is commonly considered a beneficial dryland rotation crop that improves the yield and profitability of subsequent cotton crops (Hulugalle et al. 2006), through improved soil structure and decreased inoculum of cotton-specific diseases in the soil (Hulugalle et al. 1999 & 2006).In 2007/ 2008, grain prices improved to record levels in response to socioeconomic influences in Asia, an international push for bio-energy crops, and the impact of local droughts. With wheat prices nearly 300% of those received just three years earlier (Brown et al. 2008) high levels of optimism were generated for future grain prices. This increase in agricultural commodity prices sparked increased investment in grain farming from the corporate sector, and initiated a paradigm shift amongst the irrigated farming community of the northern grains region. These irrigated enterprises no longer viewed themselves as cotton growers, but rather, commodity growers needing to make the greatest return on the available irrigation water. And while grain prices have since eased, demand for food grain is predicted to increase over the next 20-50 years as the world's population expands (FAO 2006; UN 2007). Demand-driven increases in grain prices are therefore likely to result in increased irrigated wheat production across the northern region.Therefore there is a need for improved advice to irrigated crop producers that have traditionally grown cotton, but are now commodity producers who need to make tactical responses to water availability and commodity prices in order to maximise on-farm water use efficiency. This project aimed to assist irrigated growers in the northern region by producing irrigation scheduling recommendations for irrigated wheat, in conjunction with the CCC CRC 'High Yield Grains in Cotton Farming Systems' (HYGICFS) project.
Appears in Collections:Cotton CRC Final Reports

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