Melbourne, 14 February 2013
Scott Chirnside of Chirnside Agriculture believes an average canola yield of 2 t/ha on his Inverleigh farm would normally be considered good, so to achieve an average of very close to 3 t/ha last season was extraordinary.
Working with Steve Dickson of Crop Plus Agronomy, Scott has been building the general wellbeing of his property’s soils to take advantage of favourable growing conditions.
He moved to farm in the area twelve years ago, originally targeting high yields aligned with the high rainfall of the region. Scott soon came to realise that most of the better crops in the area were interlinked with intensive livestock production and the use of the manure from those enterprises.
Scott now has 3200 pigs, in conjunction with a free range pig company, which are grown out in straw based ecoshelters.
“A major reason behind the piggery was to get the manure by-product and we see tremendous benefits in running the two operations together,” Scott said.
“The crop rotation we started with was canola/wheat/barley, but recently it’s more likely to be canola/wheat/wheat or even canola/wheat/canola/wheat.
“Wheat has proven to be a very resilient crop that copes well with variable seasonal conditions.
“We like to have a good balance of canola varieties as a way of managing seasonal variability. Last year I grew only one Roundup Ready® (RR) variety which was the new Bayer released IH50RR.
“Early seedling vigour was very good on this particular hybrid variety and it continued to grow well all the way through.”
“With the impact of slugs and bird attack down here, we need early crop vigour. The hybrids tend to fill in the space better if plants are attacked by these pests.”
Scott said Roundup® was sprayed on IH50RR at the three to four leaf crop growth stage and again at the six leaf stage.
“I think with the RR canola varieties, you need to make sure you get that second Roundup spray on, regardless of whether you think you need it or not. It’s that second spray that really does most of the work.”
He said he likes the potential of the hybrid varieties because it offers the prospect of pushing the yields up.
To fulfil potential last year Scott spread about 5 m3/ha of pig manure and followed up with 5 t/ha of gypsum to lift sulphur content and improve soil structure.
IH50RR has a provisional blackleg rating of resistant to moderately resistant (R-MR) and Scott said the blackleg rating was another important factor in variety selection.
“We are prepared to spray with Prosaro® if we encounter severe blackleg conditions, but we look for the best blackleg resistance in our canola varieties. That’s one thing I pay particular attention to. The variety has to be MR and above.
“I think it’s important for our overall program to have good balance and to consider all the new innovations that come our way.”
Bayer Area Manager, Alistair Beyer, said Bayer is aiming to develop hybrids that cope better with stress conditions through early vigour and good root development.
This should allow canola to be grown in more marginal areas and varieties planted in traditional canola growing areas to show more resilience when unusual weather events occur.
“Australian growers can expect the development of really outstanding varieties from Bayer, promoted by the sharing of knowledge, experience and germplasm from our global network,” he said.
Prosaro® is a Registered Trademark of the Bayer Group
Roundup Ready® and Roundup® are Registered trademarks of Monsanto technology LLC.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. The Australian head office is located in Melbourne. This and further news is available at: www.bayercropscience.com.au
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