Wheat trifecta takes the gamble out of cropping program

01 October 2020 Wheat News

Hines Hill farmer Cam Gethin plans to plant RockStar, Scepter and Chief CL Plus next year.

Although never one to gamble on the vagaries of the seasons, former Bureau of Meteorology employee Cam Gethin backs sowing three different wheats to achieve yield competitiveness across sowing times, weed control and grade differentiation.

By next season he is planning his wheat trifecta at ‘Nevana Farms’ at Hines Hill, 240km east of Perth, will be an early sowing option, RockStar, a mid-season sowing option, Scepter and an imidazolinone tolerant option, Chief CL Plus.

“With a mixed sheep and cropping enterprise, with brome, barley and rye grasses needing to be managed, InterGrain’s Chief CL Plus, with its Clearfield Plus technology, gives us a valuable head start on weed control for the following year,” Mr Gethin said.

This year he sowed InterGrain’s high yielding, mid to slow season, AH wheat RockStar across 35 hectares on May 10 as a bulk-up crop.

His transition to RockStar was due to its longer maturity compared to Scepter and its higher yield compared to Magenta.

“Also a real bonus is that I recently learnt that RockStar now has dual classification, AH (Australian Hard) and AHN (Australian Hard Noodle, segregated at APWN), the addition of AHN could be an advantage in seasons where there is a price premium for this grade.

“With AH often difficult to achieve, the dual classification option will be handy because we usually only make the AH grade in a tough finishing year,” he said.

Although Magenta has been Mr Gethin’s early planting option since the InterGrain variety was first released, RockStar will supersede it due to its 13 per cent yield margin over Magenta in the NVT’s Agzone 4*.

“On top of the impressive RockStar NVT trial data, when I looked at phenology trials by Dion Nicol at DPIRD’s Merredin Research Station, it showed me that RockStar would have a good fit in my system,” he said.

Approximately 2000ha of wheat has been planted at ‘Nevana Farms’ this season, plus 200ha of lupins, with the balance pasture grazed by merinos.

“Essentially, my paddock rotation revolves around weed control, with the rotation usually starting with a longer season wheat sown towards the end of April and early May with a pre-emergent application of Sakura herbicide.

“Then we move to our main season varieties, Scepter or Mace, followed by Chief CL Plus to clean up weeds, with the following two years fallowed for sheep and weed control,” he said.

According to InterGrain Wheat Breeder Dan Mullan, growers have welcomed RockStar as an exceptionally high yielding variety which has consistently performed across different environments and sowing dates in InterGrain and NVT trials, highlighting yield stability.

RockStar offers a robust disease package, including good yellow spot (MRMS), stem (MR) and stripe rust (RMR – WA pathotype) resistance.

RockStar is available for planting from Seedclub members and/or resellers.

*Based on 2015-19 NVT predicted long-term main season annual yield performance,
represented as a % of average site mean yield for WA Agzone 4.