Farm Management

Downs grower puts new APH wheat to test

Darling Downs grower Andrew Higton

Darling Downs grower Andrew Higton was one of several growers across the state involved in the successful production of seed for new wheat variety Reliant.

Reliant, bred by LongReach Plant Breeders and marketed by Advanta Seeds, is a mid-season variety classified Australian Prime Hard in Queensland and northern NSW. It is the best yielding APH in 1-5t/ha environments in these locations as shown in long-term trials.

Mr Higton, who farms at Tipton near Cecil Plains, said he received 2.1 tonnes of seed to bulk up the 2016 season in preparation for its commercial release in 2017.

“It was nice and even from the word go. The evenness of early vigour was most apparent,” Mr Higton said.

“We harvested 128t off the Reliant or 3.8t/ha, and it went 11.8 per cent protein for a H2 classification and 3pc screenings.”

He said they received 173mm of growing season rainfall and 498mm for the year, which was down on their average of 630mm.

“The crop had a good start, a warmer than normal winter, followed by a tough finish.”

Andrew and his wife Sandy run 400-hectare property Patricia Downs, where the focus is on cotton.

Corn also fits in the summer program and wheat and beans are grown in winter.

He said he had two requirements of his wheat varieties – they must be high protein accumulators and they must fit a main-season sowing window.

“We are always aiming for high protein because it offers a better price which helps the budget.

“We like to plant at the end of June, so a mid-season wheat suits us well. If we are delayed until mid-July, we’ll opt for a quicker wheat.”

Mr Higton began planting to 34ha in the first week of July 2016 using a Gyral air seeder on 23cm spacings at a rate of 62kg/ha.

The fertiliser program consisted of 80 units of N pre-plant and 50kg Starter Z at-plant, and MCPA was used once for weeds.

Harvesting began at the end of November 2016, with a positive finish overall.

The plan at Patricia Downs this season is to plant one-third of the farm to wheat and leave the rest fallow for cotton and corn in summer.

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