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WHILE wheat growing can be difficult, it can also be very rewarding when your variety of choice toughs-out the highs and lows of the season.
This seems to be the case for Yorke Peninsula grower Rob Gerschwitz, who chose to plant 200 hectares of Emu Rock, InterGrain’s short-season wheat variety, after reaping 20ha last year.
At the end of September he was confidently expecting a 3-tonne/ ha average yield across the four paddocks he sowed from early to late May at 85kg/ha, with a DAP- sulphur compound fertiliser, plus zinc and copper.
“This quite high seeding rate, to achieve optimal plant density, is necessary due to Emu Rock’s large grain size,” he said. Mr Gerschwitz, Steinhaven, Maitland, crops about 1400 hectares of Mace and Kord wheat, Hindmarsh barley, lentils and vetch.
“We mostly grow wheat after a legume, followed by durum or straight after canola,” he said.
“Our 2014 season got off to an early start, followed by good rains from May to July, but August and September were very light-on, receiving only 30 millimetres over the two months.”
Mr Gerschwitz is happy with how Emu Rock has done on his shallow soil types, given the tight finish. Steinhaven has a range of soils, from deep clays to shallow sands, to grey loam.
His Emu Rock is at full grain fill and will finish with reasonable quality because of the excellent grain size.
The other varieties in his program are behind in terms of maturity and will need rain for quality to be maintained.
Mr Gerschwitz said Emu Rock’s disease package was a plus, because it had good stem and stripe rust resistance, moderately resistant to moderately susceptible and moderate yellow leaf spot resistance.
Emu Rock’s breeder, InterGrain’s Chris Moore said preliminary trial results indicated it offered reasonable resistance to eye spot, which is causing some growers grief on Lower Eyre Peninsula and the Mid North.
He said growers should consider a variety such as Emu Rock to diversify their portfolio for effective disease and risk management.
“On the risk management front, Emu Rock has a great fit when growers approach the end of their programs, as it has a lower tendency to produce screenings,” he said.
He cautioned growers to be aware that Emu Rock was susceptible to cereal cyst nematode, but this could be managed with appropriate rotations.
InterGrain marketing manager Ash Brooks said, Emu Rock was considered an excellent varietal complement to InterGrain’s recently released AH wheat Cosmick, ideally suited to the medium to high-rainfall areas.
Emu Rock is available from your local reseller, InterGrain Seedclub member or can be purchased via farmer to farmer trading this harvest.