Fast-tracked trial at Pindar push sowing date boundaries for wheat 2015 trial report

Page last updated: Thursday, 18 May 2017 - 12:25pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The north east fringes of the Western Australian wheatbelt received good levels of summer rain in 2015. With little data available on how wheat responds to sowing before 25 April a trial was established at Pindar to look at yield responses and to validate phenology data.

This trial will be reported on throughouth the 2015 growing season so we might answer the question 'How early is too early to sow wheat?'

Since January, rain records for some locations in the north east of the Western Australian wheatbelt exceeded 200mm (300mm in some places) with much of this falling in March. The bottom line was, the soil was wet and it was 1 April! Some were wondering "when do I start seeding? What if it did not rain again until June?"

Unfortunately there is limited trial data for sowing much earlier than 25 April.

The trial at Pindar was sown to:

  1. Compare the yield responses of six wheat varieties sown at three sowing dates (9 April, 23 April and 12 May)
  2. Validate phenology and yield predictions of the Yield Prophet tool with very early sowing times.

In theory, APSIM (and of course Yield Prophet) can model what will happen and quantify the risk of heat shock and/or frost. This trial will enable validation of the Yield Prophet to support growers with variety decisions and management with early sowing opportunities.

This trial is one of a trial series conducted in 2015. In addition to this trial at Pindar there is also a wheat trial at Yuna and a canola trial at Pindar.

Trial details

Table1 Trial details for Pindar
Sowing dates

9 April into moist soil

23 April into moist soil with drying top soils

12 May into moist soil with drying top soil

Fertiliser Agras Extra 100kg/ha drilled with seed
Varieties sown Forrest, Mace, Magenta, Trojan, Westonia and Yitpi
Targeted plant density (TPP) 60 and 120 plants/m2 (adjusted for germination and seed size but equivalent to approximately 30 and 60kg/ha


Plant establishment

Table 2 Plant establishment of wheat plants sown on 9 April 2015
Variety TPP 60plants/m2 TPP 120 plants/m2
Forrest 42 77
Mace 73 102
Magenta 33 80
Trojan 39 64
Westonia 61 115
Yitpi 60 99

Plant development

Varieties differ in development. They will begin flowering at different times when sown at the same time. Some varieties sown in early April are flowering in mid-late June. Other varieties have only started to bolt. Varieties sown in early May are still tillering.

Table 3 Wheat development stage (measured 23 June) of varieties sown at three sowing dates at Pindar
Variety Sowing date 9 April 2015 Sowing date 23 April 2015 Sowing date 12 May 2015
Forrest Start of booting Start of stem elongation Mid tillering
mace Flowering Flag leaf visible Mid tillering
Magenta Early flowering Flag leaf visible Mid tillering
Trojan Early Flowering Flag leaf visible Mid tillering
Westonia Flowering Ear half emerged Mid tillering
Yitpi Ear 3/4 emerged Second node Mid tillering



Financial support for this trial has been provided by the Grains Research and Development Corporation's Regional Cropping Solutions Network in Western Australia. Yield Prophet reporting managed by Richard Quinlan at PlanFarm. DAFWA's research support unit for trial managment and Melaine Kupsch for data management. Appreciation of the Mullewa Dryland Farming Initiative and the Thomas family for access to trials site and field day events.

Contact information


Christine Zaicou-Kunesch