In a season of weather-related setbacks, growers in the state’s upper southeast like Neil Ziersch could at least report some valuable insights into integrated weed management (IWM) alongside modest income from cropping.
Mr Ziersch is McFarlane Brinkley cropping manager for Brinkley Station at Wellington.
He said 2015 began with poor subsoil moisture, growing season rainfall dropped from the 289mm average to 188mm, and late frosts affected canola, but the upside was he was still able to trial new varieties and assess them for yield and herbicide tolerance fit.
“The 2014-15 summer was very dry, with only 56 millimetres falling, so prior to seeding I was hoping moisture levels would lift with some rain,” he said.
“We had 29mm in April, which was enough to get going, but seeding was a few days later than ideal on May 6.
“We saw one of the driest Junes on record with 10mm of rain. The highest rainfall event from July to October was 8.2mm on October 21, with this rainfall event having little benefit.
“The frost on August 20 and September 10 impacted all three canola varieties sown.
“While the crops didn’t reach their potential, it was an important season for us in terms of IWM.”
Mr Ziersch said due to ryegrass issues and Group B resistance at Brinkley Station, Elders Murray Bridge agronomist Kaye Zadow recommended they plant all canola hectares to triazine tolerant (TT) varieties.
“Many Clearfield varieties have been grown in the region over recent years and Group B resistance is rapidly increasing, so we needed to rotate our chemistries.
“We had tried one TT paddock in 2014, and the rest were Clearfield varieties.”
Also, there are many varied soil types across the 2000ha property, meaning variety choice can be difficult.
On the advice of Ms Zadow, they grew two open pollinated triazine tolerant (OP TT) varieties and one hybrid TT cultivar – Hyola 450TT.
“Kaye advised we should look at hybrids for a comparison, so we sowed six hectares of Hyola 450TT.
“We can see advantages in the slightly different flowering times from a frost risk aspect and based on Hyola 450TT’s performance, we will be increasing the hectares in 2016.”