Getting time of sowing right can be critical to end of season success when you’re committed to a 100 per cent cropping program spread across 5000 arable hectares on country prone to dry, hot spring finishes.
Just ask Ben Cripps of ‘Wepowie Ag’ at Ogilvie, who in 2020 conducted his own time of sowing wheat variety trial in which quick to mid spring AH wheat, Vixen, won the day when it counted.
In the 15ha trial plots, which included Scepter, Magenta, Devil and Sting, Vixen out yielded the lot, beating Scepter by 300kg/ha in the earlier trial when planted May 7 and by 97kg/ha when planted June 6.
Mr Cripps decided to grow Vixen after an ‘over the fence’ peek at his neighbour’s 2019 crop, which impressed him, especially as it had handled tough growing conditions that year.
“The main benefit I see with Vixen, aside from the obvious one, as a new variety option for certain paddocks, is that it enables us to spread our sowing window, allowing me to sow in early June if needed and still pick up a good yield at the business end.
“Growing different wheat varieties also means enjoying the benefits of the different packages they offer when it comes to coping with weeds and diseases.
“In Vixen’s case, it opens up the option up for a double knock herbicide treatment if necessary and gives me the opportunity to do some soil amelioration as we do experience compaction in areas and also acidity issues at depth,” Mr Cripps said.
Aside from the 15ha time of sowing trial, he also managed to bulk up some Vixen in 2020.
“I was impressed with its short height compared to other varieties, which improved our harvest productivity in what was a high yielding year.”
‘Wepowie Ag’ typically crops 60 per cent wheat, 20pc lupins and 20pc canola, using variable rate technology and controlled traffic farming.
Bred by InterGrain’s Dr Dan Mullan, Vixen offers a true varietal opportunity within wheat programs to help spread flowering windows during critical spring stress periods.
In addition to the variety’s stand-out yield performance, it offers good stripe (MRMS) and stem (MRMS) rust and yellow leaf spot (MRMS) resistance.
Vixen has strong physical grain characteristics, with good grain size and hectolitre weight and also short plant height, which may assist stubble management in high yielding crops.
Vixen is available via farmer-to-farmer trade, local resellers or InterGrain’s Seedclub members.