RiskWi$e – how is the 2024 season shaping up and how can nitrogen strategy be approached?

| Posted in

With seeding just around the corner (or already started for some), many growers are considering questions like: how will the season turn out? How much of the rain we had last December is still available for this year’s crop? Should I be targeting above average yields? How much money should I spend on this year’s crop?

Crop yields hinge on numerous factors, but if you were to ask most people, they’d likely agree on one primary factor: rainfall. Rain drives good yields, while its absence leads to the opposite outcome. Predicting when to make the best of a good year or cut costs on a poor year can make farming a bit of a ‘dark art’ as growers navigate a range of decisions. Often, these decisions are based on years of experience, where growers rely on intuition or gut feeling. This intuitive approach often provides a solid base for decision-making and outcomes, but can see some opportunities lost or overspending on poor years.

An alternative approach involves ‘calculated’ decision-making. It typically involves sitting down, perhaps with a calculator, scribbling numbers on the back of an envelope, or better yet, using a computer and spreadsheet. While this method still incorporates intuition, it presents information in a way that allows growers and/or consultants to clearly weigh the benefits against the risks.

The framework, developed by Barry Mudge and Peter Hayman, where a range of outcomes to decisions are considered, provides a means of examining all outcomes simultaneously to make well-informed decisions and forms part of GRDC’s RiskWi$e initiative. It’s about calculating and potentially minimising risk and maximising rewards within a farming operation.

As part of the RiskWi$e project, six paddocks were chosen to run Yield Prophet® on, serving as examples to discuss with growers. This approach benefits from using real numbers from the local area, making them more relatable. The reports provide an example of how nitrogen decisions and their long-term outcomes could be worked through to consider a range of outcomes. Check out the N strategy reports for Cleve, Cockaleechie, Cootra, Minnipa, Port Kenny and Lock here.

Yield Prophet® predictions for EP focus paddocks in 2024

Overall, the aim of the RiskWi$e project is to assist growers in managing risk. It’s not to suggest that growers aren’t already adept at doing so, but rather to work through a range of tools where the spectrum of possible outcomes are considered.

We aim to regularly update the information provided for the focus paddocks, to help track how nitrogen applications respond to seasonal conditions and yield forecasts.

If you require any further information or would like to discuss the way you are approaching nitrogen decisions for the upcoming season, please contact Jacob Giles, EPAG Research, Port Lincoln, 0431 110 018 or jacob@epagresearch.com.au.

All the best for a fantastic opening to the season and a smooth seeding.

To access nitrogen strategy reports for the 6 EP focus sites in the project, go to: https://airep.com.au/research/riskwise-national-risk-management-initiative-action-research-groups-eyre-peninsula/


Share this on social media