Barley seed rate and irrigation frequency

One of the more difficult decisions growers have to make each spring is to decide where to use their irrigation water to get the best returns. 

Quick take:

  • In a wet winter like 2016 the decision to irrigate a barley crop increased grain yield and grain quality but resulted in reduced water productivity.
  • The average grain yield across the experiment was 6.3 t/ha, with the highest yield of 8.0 t/ha achieved from the 50 kg/ha seed rate with one irrigation and topdressed with 326 kg/ha of urea.
  • The lower seed rate of 50 kg/ha improved grain quality and reduced lodging with no negative impact on grain yield.
  • The waterlogged treatment (ponded for 48 hours) used an additional 0.41 ML/ha or 55%more water in one irrigation than the treatment that was ponded for only five hours.

Brian Dunn, Tina Dunn, Craig Hodges and Chris Dawe, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yanco

IREC Farmers' Newsletter No. 197 — Autumn 2017. Read the full newsletter here.