October 20, 2021

Northern Trials Update - October 2021

Highlights from our 2021 Field Trials

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Our nitrogen timing in canola trial near Goomalling, image taken mid-August.

Summit Fertilizers’ 2021 field research program is the largest ever undertaken by us. The program includes a total of 43 trials split evenly between the northern (22) and southern regions (21).

Research in the north has focussed on nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S) in wheat, barley and canola. Some of the highlights this year came from trials in Goomalling, Wyalkatchem, Coorow and Badgingarra.


Thanks to Lord Farms, our trial north of Goomalling has focussed on nitrogen strategies in canola. Under the direction of Summit Area Manager Brayden Noble and Scott Thomson of Central Ag, this trial aims to investigate the best N strategy for high yielding hybrid canola lines in a medium rainfall zone.

Early in the season there were clear visual benefits to high N rates applied at seeding. This posed the question as to whether the later applied N treatments would be able to catch-up.

Harvest results will be very interesting in this trial and hopefully help us identify the ability of late N applications to increase harvest yield and oil content in a high potential year.


In Tracey Hobbs’ area there has been some debate around the effectiveness of K applied at early tillering, versus applied at seeding. A trial set up in a Garn Nominees paddock south of Wyalkatchem addressed this question through increasing N and K rates, with two K rate timings.

As background to this trial, clients in the Wyalkatchem area have questioned whether applied N is fully utilised and the interaction between N and K has not been investigated thoroughly enough.

Tracey’s trial consistently showed a response to increasing N rates through germination, biomass, flag leaf size and higher tiller numbers. The effect of applying K at seeding versus at early tillering will not be fully known until harvest, so growers are encouraged to keep an eye out for trial results.

Area Manager Tracey Hobbs and Northern Regional Manager Wayne Foot inspecting the NxK timimg trial. Image taken mid-August.


Summit has been involved in a GRDC nutrition project for the past five years where we have investigated P responses, including soils where traditionally we would not expect a response to increasing P rates. This year one of these sites was at Catalina Farms east of Coorow in Juliet McDonald’s area. This trial was sown on May 4th with Scepter wheat at 86kg/ha.

Juliet’s trial has shown promising results from the start, with good rainfall pre and post-seeding as well as consistent rain events throughout the growing season. The trial consisted of five P rates. High rates of N and K have been applied, both at seeding and during the season to ensure nutrition is not lacking.

Combined with above average growing season rainfall, high crop biomass readings have been recorded during the season. If this trend continues to harvest, yields could be higher than any cereal trial we have ever done in the area.


Summit Area Manager Brett Beard, has a long-term K trial on the property of Rohan Marriott east of Badgingarra. In its second year we can look at the compounding effect of K rates, strategies and sources (MOP vs SOP).

After seeing responses in 2020 where the interaction between K source, placement and rates significantly affected growth, we decided to continue this trial into 2021 and possibly beyond.

Similar results have been seen this year, with rates between 15 to 45kg K/ha being influenced by both source and placement.

We will test whether these differences are realised at harvest, especially in grain quality.

Few could have predicted the season ahead when this picture was taken at seeding. Rohan Marriott (left) is discussing the potential impact of potassium source, placement and rates on crop growth potential with Summit Area Manager, Brett Beard. Brett has set up this long-term K trial on Rohan’s property.

For further Trial information, contact your local Area Manager.