Western Australian farmer Kim House is adding the latest early maturing Australian Hard (AH) wheat, Devil, to his cereal cropping program this year in a bid to reduce seasonal risks and boost productivity and returns.
Kim who farms 8100ha near Watheroo, had great success bulking-up seed from this new InterGrain variety in 2018 and says it has potential to replace the bulk of Scepter wheat previously sown in his approximately 5500 hectare cropping program around the West Midlands area.
“Devil is a high yielding option that we feel is well suited to this medium rainfall zone area and can be sown throughout May to help manage frost and heat stress events that might occur later in the spring,” he says.
“It has a good disease package, with strong yellow spot resistance (being rated moderately resistant to moderately susceptible – MRMS), which is important in wetter seasons.
“It is also moderately resistant to stripe rust, which can cause serious production losses in local wheat crops when conditions are conducive.
“Last year was a low disease pressure year in the region, so there was no need to use any foliar fungicides and the Devil crop retained its leaf area very well late into the season.”
He says he sowed the variety on 26th May following 25mm opening rain two days earlier last year as a trial to see how it would go. A sowing rate of 50 kilograms/ha and a fertiliser regime of 70 litres/ha Flexi-N and 115kg/ha K-Till Xtra Plus banded at sowing, followed by 100kg/ha urea in June.
“It looked healthy and impressive all year – right through to harvest – and I will likely follow the same agronomy this season,” he says.
“I found the Devil had a good harvest height, threshed well, produced excellent yields, averaging around 5t/ha, had a large grain size and resulted in very low screenings, compared to some other wheat varieties that I used last year.
“I intend to sow Devil now as an alternative cereal in the program to Scepter and will increase planting area of the new variety in 2019 across a wider range of soil types to assess how it performs.”
Devil is faster to mature than Scepter (approximately 3-7 days) and has a similar maturity to Mace, which is ideal for May sowings across a broad range of environments. This difference in maturity allows growers to spread their flowering date while maintaining maximum yield potential.
InterGrain cereal breeder Dr Dan Mullan said the variety had performed consistently well in the company’s trials in the past four seasons and in the National Variety Trials in the past two.
He says Devil has both AH and Australian Premium White Noodle (APWN) classification, which is an advantage in noodle growing areas if pricing premiums and segregations are available.
“It is very stable, with broad adaptation and its early-mid maturity provides growers with greater flexibility when sowing their wheat programs,” he says.
Devil is available for planting in 2019 and seed is available from local Seedclub members and/or resellers.