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TRIAL SNAPSHOT

Effects of Nitrogen application and sowing density on 8
barley varieties 2015
David Burch1, Nick Moody1, Ian Menz1 and Felicity Harris2
1.
2.

DPI NSW, Condobolin Agricultural Research and Advisory Station
DPI NSW, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute

Introduction
Seed and nitrogen (N) fertiliser are two of the most expensive inputs a grower must manage when sowing
crops. Eight malting varieties of barley were measured at two sites; Condobolin and North Parkes with
varietal responses to N at 0,30 and 90 kg/ha applied at sowing and seed density trialled at 75, 50 and 300
plants/m2 on a 30 cm row spacing.

Site details
Soil type:
Previous crop:
2015 Rainfall:
Fertiliser:
Soil N:

Gradational Red Earth (Condobolin), Red Brown Clay (North Parkes)
Lucerne (Condobolin), Canola (North Parkes)
Condobolin: 427mm (198mm April to September), Parkes: 612mm (326mm April to October)
70kg/ha MAP, and applications of 0, 30 and 90kg/ha of N applied at sowing as urea
Condobolin: 60.7 kg/ha, Parkes: 42.6 kg/ha, 0-60 cm cores taken before sowing

Results:
Tables 1 & 2. Grain yields (t/ha) of 8 barley varieties with increasing N applications at Parkes and Condobolin 2015 (NS: No
significant difference, * indicates significant difference within variety).

Table 1
Variety
Bass (NS)
Buloke*
Commander (NS)
Compass*
Flinders (NS)
Granger (NS)
La Trobe (NS)
Wimmera*
LSD (p= 0.05)

Parkes N applied (kg/ha)
0
30
90
4.938
5.112
5.15
5.038
5.182
4.91
5.35
5.265
5.201
5.49
5.787
5.557
5.177
5.203
5.112
5.34
5.595
5.383
5.639
5.802
5.597
5.286
5.304
4.716
0.261

Table 2
Variety
Bass (NS)
Buloke*
Commander*
Compass*
Flinders (NS)
Granger*
La Trobe*
Wimmera*
LSD (p=0.05)

Condobolin N applied (kg/ha)
0
30
90
1.056
0.882
0.580
1.043
0.953
0.688
0.600
0.519
0.372
1.252
1.121
0.860
0.703
0.588
0.518
0.730
0.570
0.356
1.327
1.427
0.902
0.626
0.785
0.410
0.221

The Parkes trial had a negative grain yield response from increased N fertiliser with varieties Buloke,
Compass and Wimmera, with the higher N rate reducing grain yield. Grain yields of these varieties
were optimised with 30kg/ha of N. All other treatments were not significantly different (table 1).

There was insufficient rainfall in the latter half of the season at the Condobolin site to utilise the N
resulting in reduced yields from all N rates. All varieties responded negatively to 90kg/ha of N due to
insufficient moisture availability.

Table 3
Variety
Bass (NS)
Buloke (NS)
Commander*
Compass*
Flinders (NS)
Granger*
La Trobe*
Wimmera
(NS)
LSD (p= 0.05)

Parkes
Seed rate (plants/m2)

75
5.009
5.046
5.155
5.446
5.105
5.181
5.521

150
5.102
5.045
5.407
5.612
5.171
5.502
5.777

300
5.091
5.04
5.254
5.775
5.216
5.635
5.741

5.1

5.089

5.118

0.211

Table 3. Grain yields (t/ha) of 8 barley varieties sown at three densities at Parkes (NS No significant difference, *
indicates significant difference). No significant differences were recorded at Condbolin.

Weather conditions had a significant effect on overall grain yields. Low rainfall shortened the growing
season at Condobolin, resulting in low yields. Higher rainfall at Parkes resulted in greater yields.

At Parkes, grain yield response positively by increasing plant density from 75 to 150 plants/m .

Commander, Compass, Granger and LaTrobe all demonstrated significant yield gains from the
increase in seed rate, possibly due to their inherit low tillering and erect growth habit.

When plant density was increased (additional 35kg/ha seed sown), yield was increased by an average
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140kg/ha in Parkes, and 90kg/ha in Condobolin (Table 3 & 4). Plant density greater than 150 plants/m
did not result in significant yield improvements at both sites.

Compass and LaTrobe were the highest yielding varieties at both sites. Both varieties have a
relatively short growing season, producing excellent yields in medium to low rainfall environments.

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Summary
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There was a positive grain yield response by increasing plant density from 75 to 150 plants/m and from N
fertiliser applications at the Parkes site, where rainfall was sufficient to utilise the N. Condobolin did not
achieve the spring rainfall to utilise N or take advantage of the increased seedrate. Newer varieties La Trobe
and Compass are producing solid yield results for medium to low rainfall environments. This trial has
highlighted the capabilities of some newer, high yielding, malting varieties, as well as the importance of
matching inputs (seeding rate, N fertiliser) to yield potential.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Technical Officers Nick Moody, Fraser Campbell and Nick Hill. Thanks to the North Parkes Mine
staff, as well as the National Variety Trials technical team (Dubbo).
For further queries, contact David Burch: david.burch@dpi.nsw.gov.au 0439 798 336

More information
This trial is part of a collaborative national trial series co-funded by GRDC and NSW DPI. More detailed
results of this trial and other Southern NSW GRDC agronomy trials can be found in NSW DPI’s 2015
Southern Trials booklet.
© State of New South Wales through Department of Primary Industries 2014. You may copy, distribute and otherwise freely deal with this publication for any
purpose, provided that you attribute NSW Department of Primary Industries as the owner.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing (November 2014). However,
because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of
the information with the appropriate officer of NSW Department of Primary Industries or the user’s independent adviser.

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NSW Department of Primary Industries, February 2016