RockStar goes hard in northern NSW

21 January 2021

RockStar and Vixen, InterGrain’s first Australian Hard classified wheats released in northern New South Wales, have been welcomed by growers who trialled the new varieties in 2020.

One of those growers, Brendon Warnock, sowed 15 hectares of RockStar on May 19 and it yielded 5.3 tonnes per hectare at his family’s 1627 ha Narrabri farm ‘Warilea’, where about two thirds was sown to winter wheats.

The RockStar plot followed a summer corn crop and was sown with 87kg/ha of urea.

Post emergent it received an MCPA and Paradigm application to control broadleaf weeds.

Despite receiving low growing season rainfall of just 230 millimetres, the RockStar crop looked very good early, according to Mr Warnock, who was particularly pleased with how it performed at the business end of the season.

He planted it alongside Spitfire, a long term popular mid-quick wheat variety in the Namoi Valley, so that he could compare it to RockStar, which is a mid to slow maturing variety.

“Although shorter than Spitfire, with the heads seemingly smaller and lower at harvest, which is a plant style we’re not really familiar with up here, RockStar showed it could perform when it counted,” Mr Warnock said.

Despite Spitfire yielding only 4.3 t/ha, compared to RockStar’s 5.3 t/ha, the Spitfire did deliver a 2.5 per cent higher protein, however both had low screenings.

“Clearly, RockStar has the potential to offer us flexibility to make the most of earlier sowing opportunities and spread spring flowering windows during that critical time,” he said.

Mr Warnock explained that despite cotton farming being the focus, winter crop wheat growing was a vital component of the overall farming rotation.

‘Warilea’ was first developed and farmed by Mr Warnock’s parents Jack and Jacqui more than 30 years ago, with its two blocks comprising about 40 per cent red sandy loam soils and the balance heavy black soils.

According to InterGrain NSW Territory Manager Katherine Munn, growers have welcomed RockStar as an exceptionally high yielding variety which has consistently performed across different environments and sowing dates in national InterGrain and NVT trials, highlighting its yield stability.

Ms Munn added that RockStar offered a robust disease package, including good yellow spot (MRMS), stem (MR) and stripe rust (MRMS – pathotype dependent) resistance.

“It also has very good P neglectus and P thornei resistance, both MRMS, which is advantageous in northern production systems where reducing nematode soil populations is so important,” she said.

RockStar is available from Seedclub members, resellers and through farmer-to-farmer trade.

For more information on RockStar, click here.