Management should be aimed at early planting to take advantage of higher soil and air temperatures, promoting rapid canopy closure, high final dry matter production and earlier calendar maturity. This will aid in attaining high yields, good grain quality, and low risk of harvesting delays or crop damage due to rain. However, early dry season planting is hindered by late maturation of some wet season crops, and excessive weed growth and slow soil drying following the wet season. The development (or adaption) of improved crop rotations, improved land utilisation and reduced tillage techniques will likely bring forward dry season planting dates.The wet season is not well suited to production of many crops, sugar cane and peanuts being important exceptions. High temperatures impose many limitations on crops planted in the wet season e.g. excessive soil temperatures, rapid phenological development, high respiration rate, rapid development of insect,fungal and bacterial pests, rapid nitrogen fertilizer volatilization. For such a cropping environment it is imperative that species and cultivars be carefully selected for their adaptation to high temperatures.In conclusion, it is worth stating that agronomists should not be constrained by the arbitarily chosen wet season and dry season cropping periods.Early work on the ORIA concluded that the wet season would be the major cropping season; the reverse is now the situation. There is sufficient data available to define the optimum growing season for many crops. Close analysis of the climatic data indicates a number of unexploited environments. For example, development or modification of management techniques may result in a partial shift to opportunity cropping of the favourable cropping period February - June. Limited data indicate that provided establishment problems can be overcome, very high yields of high quality products could be grown in such a season.
Number of Pages
Western Australia, Kununurra, Climate, Northern Horticulture
Delane, R J. (1987), Climate of the Ord River irrigation area Western Australia, implications for crop production. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Report 9.
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