Winter croppers Peter and Janice Jackson from Gurley are among the first to harvest a crop of Reliant wheat, a new release classified APH in NSW and Queensland.
That is because the pair, who farm three properties with sons Brad and Phil and their wives Jenna and Ashlee, are also seed producers for AusWest Seeds at Moree.
The Jacksons, along with several other select farms, bulked up Reliant in 2016, making it commercially available for planting in 2017.
They sowed 200 hectares of Reliant in May and harvested in December, yielding 4.7 tonnes per hectare at 10.5 per cent protein and classified as ASW.
“I was very impressed with its growth through the year,” Mr Jackson said.
“The standout features for me are the high yield, lower screenings, ease of harvest and its ability to be planted early or late.”
Mr Jackson said while they previously aimed to grow high protein APH wheat, they were finding it easier and more economical to aim for yield.
“It seems as we get better at growing crops with higher yields, inevitably the protein will suffer, so we’re focussed on maximising yield now.”
They also planted Suntop wheat which yielded 4.5t/ha.
Mr Jackson said April/May was the ideal time for sowing.
“If we get the opportunity to sow early, we tend to take it. Early sowing tends to maximise yield, so we usually take the risk that comes with frost.”
The nutrient package consisted of 100 units of N and 80kg of MAP-based Starter fertiliser, while the sowing configuration was 33cm row spacings using a Boss planter.
2016 was an ideal year for growing cereals, as the season’s dry start was soon offset by good showers from June onward.
“We were chasing moisture at sowing. Some of the wheat came up, and some didn’t until later.
“Then most of the rain came from June to September, so we got pretty close to our 600mm average.
“Harvest was two weeks later than usual because of the wet year and the wheat was not in a hurry to finish, but we ended up with a good result.”
The family crops wheat, canola, barley, linseed, chickpeas and oats on 1700ha spread across three blocks, Jymoomah, Bellaree and Inverness.
Their canola yielded 2t/ha average, linseed 1.7t/ha and oats 3.5t/ha, while the chickpeas were flooded out.
Along with the 940 tonnes of Reliant they produced, the family planted 240ha of oats across varieties Comet and Drover, resulting in 750 tonnes for AusWest Seeds.
Although harvest was just a few months ago, Mr Jackson is finalising plans for this season.
Canola, oats and chickpeas will be sown to one paddock each, while wheat and linseed will get two paddocks each. Reliant will be planted again.
The integrated weed management (IWM) program also received a boost recently, with the purchase of a weed seeker console now complementing their use of strategic tillage and herbicide rotation.
“We bought the machine to handle the herbicide resistance more than to save on herbicide costs, though that will come in time.
“Right now we’re targeting button grass, but the greatest pressure comes from barnyard grass, which is usually uneconomical to spray with a broadacre sprayer due to the rate of chemical required.”
The device is connected to the boom spray and targets small patches of weeds based on their chlorophyll signature.
More from Pacific Seeds here.