NSW DPI's goal of profitable agriculture for a better environment is supported by research projects conducted at the station. Staff conduct research into cereals, canola, pulses, cropping systems and crop rotations, pastures and new industrial crops. Local farming community cooperation is common in many projects.
The Central West Farming Systems organisation (CWFS), which is based at the station, undertakes farmer driven research projects. The organisation receives funding from the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) plus other sources. This, in conjunction with sponsorship from agribusiness and input from local farmers, enables them to undertake local and regional research.
- Wheat and barley phenology and management evaluation
- National Variety Trials
- Pulse crop evaluation
- Management of frost risk in cereal crops
- Canola management
- Farming systems management
The station also has a long history in the evaluation of new industrial crops for the semi-arid zone, including jojoba, mallee, guayule and broombush. Varieties of both jojoba and mallee, selected at Condobolin, have contributed to the development of new industries both in NSW and interstate. In collaboration with Western Australian researchers, there is ongoing work evaluating many mallee genotypes for production and quality traits.
- To efficiently convert rainfall into grain yield across a crop sequence, while managing soil fertility, weeds, diseases and costs. This project is a review of factors constraining farming systems efficiency in southern NSW.
- Recording yield data, soil nitrogen and water trends, weed species and disease dynamics and overall profitability of each rotation. All inputs and outputs are recorded and assigned a dollar value in order to assess economic outcomes.
Optimising Canola Profitability
- Reviewing agronomic management factors that can be used to improve canola profitability.
- Reviewing variety selection and development, sowing dates, nutrient management and soil moisture reserves to determine optimum combinations for canola production.
Elite pulse rhizobium strains
- Assessing the impact of various pH and simulated herbicide residues on the survival and growth characteristics of current commercial rhizobium strains, and elite acid tolerant strains under consideration for commercial release.
- New strains will be evaluated across the potential host range (lentil, field pea and vetch) to assess cross-compatibility.
National Variety Trials
- A national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardised trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination, providing varietal information and comparisons on a regional scale.
- Species often include wheat, barley, canola and field peas.
- Comparison trial to assess the performance of tropical pastures in the farming system compared with temperate pastures.
- This includes examining overall pasture, animal and economic performance for the comparison species.
- Investigating how the environment affects growth of chickpeas and lentils and how this changes grain yield.
- A number of contrasting varieties of chickpeas and lentils are sown at varying dates in experimental plots. This enables the effect of differences in daylength and temperature to be examined. Additional water is applied to half the plots to minimise water stress on those plants.
Wheat and Barley
- Evaluating the interaction between variety and sowing date to help predict flowering time. This interaction is assessed sowing wheat and barley varieties of commercial significance with a range of flowering types.
- Simulated early, mid and late sowings, while taking detailed in season growth stages, yield and grain quality data. Provides local growers with information about varietal response to sowing date, helping to better manage frost, heat and drought risk and optimising yield potential.