Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Managed environment facilities
13 benchmarking stressmAster Central to the benchmarking and other Managed Environment Facility (MEF) research is the irrigation system StressMaster (developed under GRDC-supported project UQ00064), which has been established at the MEF sites to control soil water relations and create different environments under which the cereal lines are assessed. StressMaster is a decision- support tool that ensures irrigation schedules match the desired drought type based on the current modelled soil water and anticipated probability of further rainfall. Previous research characterised the major drought patterns across each of the GRDC growing regions. Four drought patterns or environment types were identified ranging from almost no stress to severe and lasting stress between flowering and maturity. It is these typical drought patterns that the MEF researchers are targeting at each site. grdc research code uQ00064 more information: Dr Karine Chenu, email@example.com FIGURE 1 Biplot of predicted yields of entries in the MEF yield trials at Merredin (ME), Yanco (YA) and Narrabri (NA), under rain-fed (RF) and irrigated (IR) conditions in 2010–13. Yield (t/ha) 8 6 4 2 0 Merredin rain-fed Merredin irrigated Narrabri rain-fed Narrabri irrigated Yanco rain-fed Yanco irrigated MERF10MERF12YARF12MEIR10MEIR12MERF11YARF11YARF13MERF13YAIR12YAIR13NARF10NAIR10YAIR11NARF12MEIR13MEIR11NARF13NAIR13NAIR12NARF11NAIR11YARF10YAIR10 season, as indicated by the spread in yield at each of the three sites listed in figure 1. within-season variety performance at the yanco and Merredin MEf sites has been more similar than at narrabri. phenotypIng toolS In 2013, significant progress was made in the assessment of water-soluble carbohydrates under drought conditions as MEf researchers could screen large numbers of breeding lines for this trait. In addition, a low-cost system has been developed for the rapid and cost-effective estimation of early vigour via an automated greenseeker® and digital photo system attached to an electric tricycle (see photos to left). nicknamed the ‘Mike-mobile’ (after technical officer Mike Baker from the department of agriculture and food, western australia), the electric tricycle has front and rear powered electric hubs to ensure a consistent ground speed of about five kilometres per hour. a trimble fmX® display enables rtk-corrected mapping of the greenseeker® (normalised difference vegetation index) values and triggering and geo-referencing of the digital slr for ground cover photos. automation of data capture enables the operator to concentrate on driving (autosteer options are being investigated) while checking data quality on the display. the system has enabled early vigour data to be collected much more rapidly: what used to take one person four days now takes, with the right weather conditions, just one day. Preliminary analysis of the Merredin 2011–13 data indicates varieties with high early vigour yielded 10 to 14 per cent more than varieties with low vigour. further analysis across the full set of sites and seasons is being carried out (2014) for a range of water productivity traits including water- soluble carbohydrates, transpiration efficiency and water use efficiency. □ grdc research codes dAw00215, uQ00064 more information: Dr Ben Biddulph, DAFWA, 08 9368 3333, firstname.lastname@example.org A major benefit of the mefs is the bringing together of different pre-breeding organisations to work together with breeding companies in consistent environments and using the same protocols and check lines.
GC Supplement - Grain and Graze
GC Supplement - Root and crown diseases 2014