Bill Adams here, I’m the Seed and Grain Production Manager for Austgrains Pty Ltd.
A big part of my job is to find suitable growers who can produce BARLEYmax; I’m also responsible for distributing the seeds and managing the crops as they come to harvest.
I’m here to tell you a little about the story behind growing BARLEYmax.
The growing process itself hasn’t always been plane sailing; there have been some real agronomic challenges with getting the best out of the variety. For this reason we carefully select some of the best growers to become part of the BARLEYmax community.
The first step in the growing process begins when we select the seed for the following year’s crop, making sure of the purity and germination. We then bring it in, clean it up and store it in a location that preserves the seed for planting.
The growing process starts when we select seed for the following years crop. To make sure of the purity and germination, we bring it in, clean it up and store it in a location that preserves the seed for planting.
The next step lies with the growers who spend the Summer/Autumn period preparing their fields for planting. Planting the crop itself usually happens between May and July depending on the location and the harvest date of the previous crop.
Getting the plant established is the key to a good crop. This means preparing a seed bed that allows excellent seed to soil contact. Planting into good moisture for an even establishment is important, as this can have effects right up to harvest. Planting depth will determine the time it takes to come out of the ground as well as the seedling survival. We don’t want BARLEYmax planted too deep as the seed likes a shallow planting depth.
Once the BARLEYmax is established the focus turns to moisture. With the majority of the crop in irrigation the grower can manage the amount of water that needs to be applied.
The growers have a couple of ways of irrigating, including flood or sprinklers from overhead. Sometimes we have too much rain and we can get water logging, it is important that the fields drain well to get the excess water off the fields to let the plant grow away. The crop may need to be irrigated several times depending on the amount of in crop rainfall that occurs.
Other aspects that need to be managed once the crop is established is pest control. Keeping the weeds and diseases at bay is important to get the optimum yield from the crop and protect the hygiene of the farm.
Harvest then occurs around November and December. After harvest the BARLEYmax will be sent into a central storage location or kept on farm before it is delivered into the mill for first stage processing.
The picture above was recently taken at one of our crops in Moree, as you can see it’s thriving!