Badgingarra farmers to plant 50pc of wheat program to new Havoc

Pacific Seeds' Steve Lamb and Badgingarra farmer Tim Hayes taking a break during wheat harvest.
Pacific Seeds' Steve Lamb and Badgingarra farmer Tim Hayes taking a break during wheat harvest.

Uptake of new wheat variety Havoc is rapidly increasing in WA’s wheatbelt, and one farmer leading the charge is Badgingarra’s Tim Hayes.

Mr Hayes planted two tonnes of Havoc seed over 25ha to trial last season alongside his four commercial varieties, and after a post-harvest assessment, will be allocating half the 2019 wheat program to Havoc.

He said the increase to 90 tonnes across 1100ha was justified by the variety’s ideal maturity and the fact that it topped the yields.

“The quick maturity for a main season plant was one of the main things we were looking at. We liked the look of it all season with a late start for us here,” Mr Hayes said.

“An ideal time to sow Havoc here would be early to mid-May, but last year (2018) we actually went late because the canola and lupins went in dry and we played the waiting game for rain. We received some rain in late May (2018) then started the wheat program.

“From now on I think we’re going to wait to put all our cereals in wet, because of weed control – you get a knockdown before sowing.”

Tim, who is joined by his father David and uncle Paul at 2800ha crop and sheep property, ‘Coonawarra Downs’, planted Havoc, Zen (650ha) and Ninja (250ha) on their home block, while Scepter (670ha) and Mace (230ha) were sown to their leased country.

Mr Hayes said when comparing yields, he had to consider that the home block performed better than the leased block due to different soil types and the extreme weather.

“The Havoc yielded 3.7t/ha on average, which is about where Ninja was sitting, while Zen was off by a couple hundred kilos per hectare.

“Then on the lease country, Scepter and Mace were averaging about 2.5t/ha. The soil discrepancy is obvious, and this area experienced extremely wet conditions.

“This year (2019) we’re not going to lease any country and just plant 50pc Havoc and 50pc Ninja at home.”

Mr Hayes said the season was about average from a rainfall point of view, but no rain at the start of spring hurt yields.

“The pinched off September (2018) is what hurt all our country. We basically had no rain in September (2018) and a bit of rain to finish in October (2018).”

In addition to wheat, the Hayes grow canola and barley.

Their 450ha canola program included Roundup Ready varieties Hyola 404RR and Dynagrow, with the former yielded 400kg/ha more than the latter. OP TT variety Bonito was also sown.

“We came off a large canola crop in 2017, so hectares were down in 2018. This year (2019) we’re going all RR for weed control reasons – we’re testing for clethodim resistance. So we’re sowing Hyola 404RR and a different RR variety.”

Havoc is marketed by Pacific Seeds, bred by LongReach Plant Breeders and is now free to trade farmer-to-farmer.

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