The first day of the Henty Machinery Field Days is traditionally a riot of colour with tents, tractors, machinery and bustling people. But this year with the field days cancelled due to the coronavirus, the site is taking on a very different look.
The agronomy demonstration site at Henty is a carpet of white, pink and purple over the usual field days time in September thanks to a healthy cover crop.
This year, Baker Seed Co planted Jackhammer radish, Maple peas, Butler field peas, Popany vetch, and safflower on May 26 at a sowing rate of 100kg/ha. Baker Seed Co sales and development manager Aaron Giason inspected the cover crop in late August, reporting a high density of plant numbers.
Mr Giason said the two hectare site was sown to a cover crop as at the time of sowing, the fate of the field days was undecided.
"It will improve the soil and give us a good step forward for next year," he said. "If Henty did go ahead in some sort of capacity, there would have been something interesting in the plots to look at.
"It's about a foot high (30cm) and I expect most of it to be flowering by the third week of September and look absolutely awesome. "After that we will brown manure it back into the soil." The Henty Machinery Field Days Cooperative partners with Rutherglen company Baker Seed Co to present the latest dual-purpose and milling varieties for field day patrons.
- Henty Machinery Field Days are not on for 2020, but it doesn't mean you miss out on 'seeing' the exhibitors. View more than 80 exhibitors in a virtual guide of the field days in an ACM special publication - Henty Machinery Field Days: To the Past, Present and Future.
Mr Giason said the demonstration plot complemented the fully replicated trial sites at Rutherglen used to identify elite germplasm within breeding programs.
Last year's demonstration site featured 20 wheat varieties, five varieties of oats, a triticale, barley and a ryecorn.
"Year after year it has been a way of displaying new varieties and having a chat to growers for their options for the following season," Mr Giason said.
"This year we have a full profile of moisture in southern NSW, it isn't too wet and the recipe is perfect with almost ideal conditions.
"Next year hopefully we can resume a cereal trial at Henty and explore what we can put in to add value for growers."