Winter cereal crops

Winter cereals include wheat, barley, oats, canary, and triticale and are some of the most cultivated crops in the world. While yield and quality is determined by the combination of environment and farm management, winter cereals, in general, have a much higher yield than spring cereals, due to the ability to use winter moisture for growth.

Specific considerations for cereal crops

Key for high grade cereals is grain set and fill.  Nitrogen plays a critical role in grain fill and nitrogen fertilisers are a core part of conventional grower practice. A BioAg program will target improvement in soils that will enhance nitrogen fixation, cycling and uptake, reducing nitrogen loss pathways providing improved utilisation and plant uptake at lower rates of N fertilisation. For organic systems improving nitrogen fixation from atmosphere, cycling and plant uptake are key aspects of successful crops.

The BioAg approach

BioAg nutrition programs are incorporated into a growers current nutrition program. Our objective is to make fertiliser and other inputs work better and build and support healthy and balanced soils and plants. Programs are custom-made for each block, using advanced soil and tissue analysis. These integrated programs typically incorporate a range of BioAg solid and liquid nutrients, often associated with conventional inputs. BioAg fertility programs can be developed to meet organic certification requirements.

Soil test

An experienced and Fertcare accredited BioAg agronomist works with you and provides technical expertise on your crop. If you don’t already have recent soil test data, we arrange a soil test for you. The results provide essential information about the soil fertility and soil structure for better performance. Download the BioAg soil sampling procedure here.

A tailored program

Based on the results of soil tests, crop requirements and other factors such as soil structure, climate, history of the block, and targets that you are trying to achieve, we provide a tailored program that aims to improve soil fertility and maximise yield response. We support you through the program to ensure that inputs are applied at the right time, in the right way.

Leaf and tissue testing

Any nutritional program cannot foresee the changes in weather, disease, or pests, that may impact a crop. During the season, growers may observe issues or evidence of stress in their crop. This may be due to greater growth or yields than planned, a trace element shortage or abiotic stresses. An on-farm inspection and associated leaf or tissue tests will promptly identify any issues, which can quickly be addressed by applying the appropriate inputs. Download the BioAg leaf sampling procedure here.

High yielding crops require fertile balanced soils

Key to highly productive crops is the function of soils. Soil structure, chemistry and biology are critical in supporting crops throughout the growing season. By improving all aspects of the soil, crops will benefit from improved access to moisture, due to improved infiltration and water holding capacity, improved access to nutrition through improved nutrient cycling, fixation (for N) and a reduction in loss pathways, improved resilience to abiotic stresses and disease, improved root growth providing access to additional moisture and nutrients as well as improved carbon sequestration and a range of other benefits (click for more on soil health).

Beneficial microorganisms stimulate the plant’s root growth and help protect it from abiotic stresses. This is made possible through mutually beneficial relationships that microbes develop with plants, for example mycorrhizal associations. BioAg products programs supply essential macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca), trace elements (B, Zn, Cu etc.), microbial food and metabolites beneficial microorganisms that colonise root systems, improving soil function, plant health and productivity.

stalk of oat pods on a white background

Winter cereal crops – key features of a BioAg program

The following table illustrates the cropping process and potential solutions depending on soil test results and other contributing factors. Call your BioAg Area Manager to discuss your individual needs.

BioAg Product
Growers to have a plan in place for the cropping season, that takes into account the specific nature of their soils while meeting the needs of budget, planned future rotations, crop yield and quality and long term objectives on soil quality.
Book a soil test and consultation with your local BioAg Representative.
Prior to sowing
Provide optimal soil conditions and nutrition to support crops. Prepare soils for the period of the rotation addressing soil structure, chemistry (eg pH) and nutrition.
When applying ameliorants support crops through the entire season by including sustained release phosphate, at a rate based on soil phosphate levels and depending on the needs of your crop and future amelioration plans.
BioAgPhos®: 100 – 500kg/ha
At sowing
Provide the essential nutrition and food sources to promote emergence and early plant growth and vigour, critical in the development of stronger more resilient crops.
Incorporate a soil biostimulant to incease soil organic carbon and important microbial food sources and metabolites to improve nutrient access and minimise nutrient losses during seed emergence and early growth.
Soil & Seed®: 2 – 5L/ha as a seed inoculant or preferably diluted and applied to soil
Key growth stages
Stimulate crop growth at critical growth stages, respond to abiotic stresses and optimise the uptake and use of foliar nutrients.
Foliar application - diluted through a boom spray and in conjunction with planned applications of chemicals or fertilisers.
Balance & Grow®: 1 – 4L/ha possibly more than once per season
Maturing crop
Improve fruiting, seed set and seed fill by stimulating plant physiology and poviding important micronutirents for this stage of the crops development.
Foliar application - diluted through a boom spray and in conjunction with planned applications of chemicals or fertilisers.
Fruit & Balance®: 1 – 4L/ha

Winter cereal resources

  • Biostimulants increase yield

    For the past four years, BioAg Agronomist and Area Manager Pete Emerson has been conducting a large-scale biostimulants demonstration with a grower near Brocklesby, southern NSW. The innovative grower is keen to explore ways to combat soil constraints and improve crop y...

    Read more
  • Soil-nutrient relationships

    Nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, may be supplied to plants solely from reserves held in the soil. Others like phosphorus and nitrogen are added regularly to soils as fertiliser to be withdrawn as needed by crops.

    Read more
  • Biostimulants to the rescue – enhancing fertiliser efficiency

    Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) is the term used to describe the effectiveness of nitrogen uptake by plants, whether it be nitrogen latent in the soil, sequestered from the air, or applied as fertiliser.

    Read more
  • Biostimulants increase yield benefits

    The yield map from the Summer 2023 harvest near Brocklesby in Southern NSW visibly shows the positive impact of BioAg’s biostimulant program on yield.

    Read more
  • Twizel, New Zealand, multi-year trial

    BioAg New Zealand commenced multi-year pasture trials in 2021 in the in low rainfall high-country of the Mackenzie Basin near Twizel, located in the South Island of New Zealand.

    Read more
  • Capital P in Broadacre Cropping and Pasture

    In broadacre cropping and pasture, the last two seasons in Victoria and New South Wales have been exceptional. As a result, when considering your fertiliser requirements for 2022, it is important to consider the amount of nutrients your crops or livestock have removed. ...

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  • Pasture case study, Springhurst VIC

    The Humphry family’s mixed farming operation in northeastern Victoria is ample proof that biological farming can be an efficient and sustainable method of agricultural production. The Humphry’s have successfully implemented and refined biological farming techniques for ...

    Read more
  • Mixed farming case study, Tarcutta NSW

    Southern NSW farmers, Malcolm and Kerrie Plum, noticed a dramatic improvement in the health of their livestock since they began adopting biological farming techniques over 15 years ago. Previous animal health problems, including bloat, grass tetany and milk fever in cat...

    Read more

Recommended products

bag of BioAg Phos solid fertiliser


Solid Fertiliser

Highly reactive phosphate fertiliser made from high-grade reactive phosphate rock combined with BioAg’s microbial digesting agent.

BioAg Biostimulant product Soil & Seed

Soil & Seed


Formulated to improve soil microbial activity, natural soil fertility and moisture and nutrient utilisation.

BioAg Biostimulant product Balance & Grow

Balance & Grow


Formulated to increase vegetative growth, root development and soil microbial activity. Ideal for broadacre, pastures and horticulture.

BioAg Biostimulant product Fruit & Balance

Fruit & Balance


Formulated to increase flowering, fruit set and soil microbial activity. Fruit & Balance enhances the nutritional value and quality of fruit or grain by increasing plant sugar levels.

bag of BioAg Phos solid fertiliser

Committed to organics

With a core range of natural fertilisers and biostimulants, BioAg can offer an extensive range of products certified by Australian Organics, suitable for use in organic systems.