Dark horse Brumby wheat stretches its legs across WA in 2023

01 February 2024

Brumby, the dark horse from the InterGrain stables, has again performed exceptionally well in paddocks across WA.

Originally thought to be a variety set for the medium to high rainfall areas, Brumby has proven itself in some very tough conditions in the 2023 season.

Brumby was released in 2022 by InterGrain as a high yielding, mid-maturing APW wheat with a robust disease resistance profile – including resistance to powdery mildew and providing a tool to manage this critical disease.

Stretching its legs from the high disease pressure environments into some of the toughest grain growing environments in the state, Brumby has shown itself to be a versatile option.

Senior Wheat Breeder Dr David Tabah (DT) was delighted with the excellent performance of Brumby this season, a surprising result given the quick season in some areas.

“Usually, we would not expect a variety that sits on the longer side of the mid maturing line to perform as well as Brumby has, given the very tough finish this season.

“We have received positive feedback from growers that Brumby has proven itself across all rainfall zones this season and we are looking forward to seeing the final results from our internal trials and NVT data,” said DT.

“In those parts of the state that had high moisture conditions, Brumby’s robust disease resistance package was very much appreciated. Its powdery mildew resistance has shown to be durable with low or no infection levels observed in high disease-pressure environments in trials and paddocks across the state.

Reuben Woods, who farms with parents Steve and Suzanne at Emdavale Farms, put Brumby to the test in 2023 at their Calingiri property.

Brumby stood out as a potential variety for its slower maturity, excellent disease package, performance in the NVTs and complimentary fit with their mainstay wheat, Devil, which is a quick-mid variety.

The season started reasonably well for the Woods, with the 200 hectares of Brumby sown at 70kg/ha on 16 May. Their seed was untreated but had flutriafol upfront at seeding. This was sown alongside Calibre, at a rate of 90kg/ha.

The season progressed with below average rainfall and a tight, dry August. A season saving 20mm rainfall event came at the start of September. All up, the growing season rainfall was 300mm, well below their annual average of 400mm.

“The Brumby looked great all season. We weren’t able to find any disease in it and it has great vigour and a massive flag leaf.  I really like the plant type,” said Reuben.

“As the season progressed, I was guessing that the quicker-maturing Calibre and Devil would out-yield the Brumby, given the quick, tough season,” Reuben said.

“When it came to harvest, we did see Devil perform exceptionally well, yielding 4t and APWN quality. The Brumby was impressive, also yielding 4t/ha, although it had higher screenings than the Devil and a lower grade. The Calibre yielded just below at 3.9t/ha.

“The Brumby was sown last in the wheat program and had 15-20 units of nitrogen less than the Devil and a was on a more challenging soil type. Next year we plan to plant Brumby earlier and top up a bit more N.

“The powdery mildew disease rating for Brumby is going to be critical for us, especially in our wheat on wheat rotation, where other main season wheats like Devil have a lower rating.

“Another bonus of Brumby this season was the straw production, baling around 2.2t/ha.”

The Wood’s will test out Brumby again across a wider portion of their wheat program in the 2024 season and see how it performs across a range of soil types and rotations.

Heading south east, Luke Hipwell at Pingaring, took a gamble sowing Brumby in late June after a very late break on his property, Cape Karara Farms.

Luke said they were looking for a variety that gave an improved disease package, a different maturity and a higher yield over their main wheat variety Scepter.

“We had a later break this season and decided to put the Brumby in last after delaying the start of our seeding program,” said Luke.

“The majority of our wheat area was sown to Scepter across May and early June. We have some challenging soil types across the farm and have also done some deep ripping which seemed to improve yields this season.

After receiving 40mm in May and June, Brumby was sown in June across yellow sands and heavier soils over both ripped and unripped areas. Scepter was sown slightly earlier in June alongside it.

“The Brumby looked really good all season, even though well outside its sowing window and we could not see any disease in it.

“The crop only received 95mm after it was sown, and I was slightly concerned it would not be enough.

“We were really surprised come harvest time that the Brumby yielded 1.7-1.9 t/ha in the ripped sections and 1.3 t/ha in the non-ripped sections. The Scepter alongside yielded just over 1 tonne.

“It was a great result considering the variety was pushed outside of its ideal sowing time.

“We were really pleased with Brumby’s resilience and plan to sow it earlier in the program in 2024 to get a bit more diversity into our wheat program.”

Calingiri farmer Reuben Woods with Northern WA Territory Manager Rachel Asquith in his Brumby crop

Brumby seed is available through Seed Club members or via farmer-to-farmer trade.