Firestik 4™ Trial
- Firestik 4™ is marketed as a plant conditioner that may support frost tolerance.
- Facey Group trialled Firestik 4™ at three separate locations with known frost-risk.
- Firestik 4™ did not significantly alter biomass, yield, or grain quality at the trial locations.
- DPIRD tested plant tissue for ice nucleation activity (INA) and Firestik 4™ did not significantly alter the temperature at which plant tissue damage occurs.
Facey Group worked with two local farmers to investigate if the product Firestik 4™ increases frost tolerance in wheat crops. Firestik 4™ is a smoke extract containing plant phenols, karrikinolides and butenolides, furans, pyran and organics acids. Such compounds have been demonstrated to have a range of effects on plants and bacteria. However, the mode and range of action are still under investigation. Possible action of Firestik 4™ or other such products may involve improving plant stress tolerance. The product may also alter populations or capacities of bacteria present on the plants, in particular ice-nucleating Pseudomonas sp.
Facey Group monitored temperatures at trial locations and identified multiple frost-risk events. Frost damage occurred at all three trialled locations and frost patterns were observed in the low-lying areas. Biomass, yield, and grain quality were assessed. The yield was significantly lower in the frost-affected paddock but Firestik 4™ did not significantly alter yield or grain quality.
DPIRD took plant tissue samples from all three sites to sample tissues for ice nucleation activity (INA). INA on all samples is considered low (-8 to -13˚C) which is below the lowest recorded temperatures for these locations. There was no significant difference between Firestik 4™ applied and control plots at any of the trial sites.
Frost damage to wheat is a significant and widespread issue for Western Australian grain growers. It is the subject of ongoing research ranging from genetic modification, improved plant breeding, farming practices, and risk-management strategies. While smoke extracts are shown to have effects on various plants and bacterial species Firestik 4™ in this range of field tests has not demonstrated a protective effect against frost damage. Firestik 4™ also did not alter the temperature at which plant tissue damage occurs. Timing may be critical to effectiveness. However, Wickepin does have a widespread frost-risk window.
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