Fourth generation Quairading farmer Graydon Bond is convinced that diversity successfully spreads risk and assists in balancing the books on his family’s mixed cropping and sheep enterprise.
This year he’s planted three varieties of wheat over 1750 ha, barley over 700ha, canola over 200ha, lupins over 120ha and 100ha of a clover/oat mix for his sheep which graze 1300ha.
“I chose Devil this year because we wanted something with a shorter maturity to complement Ninja with its mid maturity,” he said.
“Having wheat varieties of different maturities gives us options, particularly at sowing.
“Devil and Scepter were very similar for us last year, but Devil gave us a slightly better average protein at 10.34, compared with Scepter at 9.81.
“I also liked that Devil gave us the option of AH* (Australian Hard) and AHN (Australian Hard Noodle) grade, as we often don’t get the protein to get into AH with the Scepter, so it would fall to APW or ASW.
“When there are late breaks, we often have trouble getting paddocks knocked down before seeding and this is another reason why we like having Devil in our system as it’s a shorter variety than Ninja and Scepter, giving us the option to sow later if we have to.”
Recently the seasons south of Quairading, where the Bonds farm, have had later breaks.
This season they sowed Devil across a few weeks, starting on May 11 and finished on June 15. In between they sowed other varieties, which made for a manageable program.
Graydon said he was very happy with how the 650ha of Devil was looking in mid-August.
The shorter season varieties have proven effective for Graydon, so he is now giving serious thought to adding Vixen, another InterGrain wheat to his cropping mix next year.
“Vixen has done really well in the National Variety Trials, has a shorter maturity than Devil and with its recently added AHN classification, it’s got a lot going for it.”
As the Bonds run substantial merino and cross-bred SAMM lamb flocks, they often leave grassier paddocks until after the break of season, so they can get a good weed knockdown before seeding crops.
“The more weapons we have in our cropping armory, the better the outcomes are at the business end of the season and that’s what really counts,” Graydon concluded.
The Benefits of AHN or APWN Wheat Varieties
InterGrain wheat breeder Dan Mullan explained that wheat varieties with AH or APW classifications could be awarded an additional specialty noodle class by exhibiting complementary colour and noodle eating quality.
“This identifies them as preferred varieties in udon noodle blends and an added bonus is likely increased premiums if they meet APWN grade requirements at delivery,” he said.
With a long history of WA meeting Japanese end market requirements, APWN had recently become increasingly valued, hence now a strong breeding focus for InterGrain.
“Delivering high value wheats into premium-paying established markets is the sharp end of grain growing, hence our recent variety releases reflect this focus,” Dr Mullan explained.
Devil (WA only) and Vixen are available from local InterGrain Seedclub members, resellers and farmer to farmer trade.
*Devil is an AH variety within the Western (Western Australia) Zone and feed in all other classification regions.