Farm Management

Positive signs for new wheat at Kingsthorpe

Kingsthorpe grower Peter Anderson

Kingsthorpe grower Peter Anderson won the Oakey Show hard wheat category in October 2016 with a judge’s estimated yield, so he was keen to see how his Flanker wheat performed at harvest.

The anticipation was heightened by the fact that 2016 was the first commercial cropping year for the variety, which is classified as Australian Prime Hard and is derived from EGA Gregory.

A month after winning the category in the Oakey winter crop competition, his dryland crop of Flanker yielded an average of six tonnes per hectare and registered 10.5 per cent protein for an APW classification.

The crop’s next test will be at the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland crop competition in Toowoomba.

Mr Anderson, who runs 600ha irrigated and dryland property, Arcadia, said with more than adequate growing season rainfall and a mild start and finish to the season, conditions were ideal for cereals.

“In 2016 I took a bit of a risk. There was a short window of opportunity with some rain coming and I did plant and got rain on it and everything worked,” Mr Anderson said.

“As far as Australian conditions go, it was probably the best we could get.

“We didn’t get the usual hot, dry finish, which gave the crops longer time to fill grain and mature.”

The grower seeded his wheat to 80ha in late-May 2016.

“I had a fair bit of fertiliser under it; 220kg/ha urea pre-plant and 40kg of starter at planting. It had a reasonable nutrition program, but in hindsight I could’ve spread some on it in-crop to help boost protein.”

Mr Anderson said he was looking for a new mid-late maturing APH variety to replace Gregory, which had been on-farm since 2009, and based his choice on positive yield reports and the plant’s breeding pedigree, which is Gregory and Lang.

“I picked this variety out because I heard some good reports about its yield potential. I’ll pick yield over protein anyway.

“We always had success with Gregory and thought Lang was a good protein wheat, so we thought we’d give it a crack.

“We’ve grown some high-yielding crops of Gregory since introducing it in 2009, but I haven’t grown it for probably two to three years. Other things came along.

“We’ve grown Lancer and Suntop.”

Mr Anderson said his cropping strategy was to monitor rainfall, soil conditions and grain prices rather than stick to a strict rotation pattern.

“We’re opportunity farmers – when an opportunity presents itself, we’ll take it.

“The wheat I grow is pretty much determined on when I can plant. I don’t have any preconceived ideas. In here we’ve got to be very careful because we’re very cold.”

Depending on conditions and the market, he grows wheat, barley and chickpeas in winter and sorghum, corn, mung beans, and millets in summer – assisted by bore water through lateral and centre pivots when required.

Mr Anderson is familiar with most wheat on the market, growing grain for sale as well as bulking up seed for rural retailers in the area.

“If rainfall presents itself at the right time in 2017, I’ll be more than happy to give Flanker another try.”

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