Farmers have been urged to refer to the biggest independent grains trial network in the world to learn how different varieties performed in the 2022-23 season ahead of seeding. The Grains Research Development Corporation this month released the results of its National Variety Trials, showing the yield, disease resistance and susceptibility and grain quality of those tested across the nation — including at 197 sites in WA. There are three reports — one for its northern, southern and western regions — with the western one covering crop trials specific to Western Australia. The National Variety Trials are the biggest independent co-ordinated trial network in the world, harnessing data from more than 650 trials at 300 sites nationwide. It includes 10 crop species: wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and sorghum. Trials are sown and managed to reflect local best practice, such as sowing time, fertiliser application, weed management, pest and disease control, and fungicide application. National Variety Trial GRDC National Variety Trial regional manager – west Isabelle Rogers said the reports contained the past five years of results for every NVT trial across Australia. “These multi-year datasets for all crops and growing regions provide the most valuable information to support decision-making around what to sow each year,” she said. “Covering the entire NVT network of trials, the reports are designed to complement the State-based Sowing Guides, which are published before harvest. “They’re a useful decision-making tool, underpinning selection of varieties that offer the best fit for individual farming systems and growing environments. Data from last year’s National Variety Trials have been fed into a multi-year, multi-environment trial variety performance analysis, providing decision-making information. Up for evaluation are near-release or released varieties each year, with the aim of providing independent, consistent, timely and robust comparative data of commercial grain varieties. However, farmers and agronomists are encouraged to base decisions on more than just yield results and to instead select the best varieties for farming systems. Ms Rogers said grower sentiment heading into the season was positive, but continued high input costs meant that varietal selection for optimal yield, grain quality and best disease resistance was top of mind for growers and advisers. “Simply focusing on yield does not provide growers with a reliable indication of which varieties may potentially offer the best returns — the quality of the grain harvested and ability to withstand disease pressure are also important factors,” she said. “In the current environment, selecting the best varieties for your farming system and local climate conditions is essential.” Results and analysis available at NVT Online, with a clickable map and access tools including a long-term yield reporter and NVT disease ratings.