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Sowing Valley Seeds trial plots

The Valley Seeds plant breeding program continues throughout the year, led by our plant breeder and head of research and development Anthony Leddin. Anthony and graduate research assistant Sarah McMaster have been sowing trial plots at sites in South West and North East Victoria.

After waiting patiently for yet another late autumn break, sowing of this year’s trials has finally started.

Waiting for a perfect sowing day in Yambuk can be challenging due to the strong winds, but we have managed to get the trial in with a shelter on the seed drill. It does a great job of shielding the seed from the wild weather.

Once the trial is sown, we roll the plot to ensure maximum soil to seed contact for a good germination. We then broadcastmfertiliser and snail bait and monitor weekly.

Soon after sowing the trial at our Yambuk site we sowed the second site at Yarck in North East Victoria. Surprisingly, we had to wait for the ground to dry out before being able to sow. Sowing a trial must be very accurate so conditions must be near perfect.

Each trial includes Valley Seeds unique breeding lines and commercially available varieties. Yield measurements will be taken from trial plots throughout the year and then analysed to determine any statistical difference between varieties and breeding lines.

Sowing trial plots at Valley Seeds research station in Yambuk.

Trials include annual, italian, hybrid and perennial ryegrass, phalaris, cocksfoot, fescue, brome and cereals. The annual species will remain in the trial for one year; italians, hybrids and bromes will remain for two years and the perennial species will stay for three years. Data will be collected throughout these years.

Before winter sets in we plan to sow a trial on the Mid North Coast of NSW to analyse the rust resistance of each breeding line and variety. With these results we can further select for greater rust resistance in pasture grasses.

We are hoping for a great germination in each trial. Follow us on social media to see how the trials progress. We look forward to being able to share the results with you at a field day later this year

– Sarah McMaster

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