Freeman focused on freedom of choice

25 September 2019 Wheat

Eradu wheat grower Peter Freeman knows that by diversifying his variety choices he can spread flowering windows and therefore mitigate risk during stressful spring periods like he is now experiencing.

While recently walking through the Eradu NVT trials and InterGrain breeding site he noted to InterGrain Territory Manager Kynan Jackson that Devil, an InterGrain AH wheat, was showing better head numbers than other varieties and its earlier maturity compared to Scepter was likely to be a plus in 2019.

Mr Freeman also noted that InterGrain’s RockStar had similar tiller numbers to Magenta.
“This was an impressive result in a challenging year, as Magenta has always been one of the best tillering varieties on our farm,” he said.

According to InterGrain wheat breeder Dan Mullan, the company’s varieties were now the top yielding lines in the early, mid and mid to late flowering varieties in WA based on released line performance within NVT.

Mr Freeman valued having varieties in the silo with varying maturities as this gave him the opportunity to better manage the seasonal conditions he confronted.

“It’s really all about having the varieties on-hand to take advantage of a good season, without losing out in more difficult seasons,” he said.

The 2019 season has been challenging in the mid-west and particularly so at Eradu, about 35 kilometres inland from Geraldton, with a late break on June 7, followed by 70mm the following week, heavy rain for a further six weeks and then very little subsequently.

This has reduced yield potential to below average, with the late break and rainfall timing making the season one of the more challenging for several years.

Mr Freeman said that with diseases increasingly a concern in farming systems, lines with stronger resistances allowed more time for better management decisions.

“Yellow leaf spot is the disease most consistently causing concern, hence I am interested in varieties that can maintain green leaf area longer.”

He therefore chose to grow InterGrain’s Chief CL Plus wheat across 500 hectares this year.

“We use the Clearfield® Plus technology on country that is well set up, generally coming off a fallow and with a history of being deep ripped.

“Planting Chief CL very effectively targets the weed seed bank because we can plant it a bit earlier than some other varieties and it can be used after fallow to get two years of brome grass control,” Mr Freeman explained.

“Resistance management is pivotal to the rotation planning process and Clearfield varieties such as Chief CL are a tactical tool for seed bank management, especially for brome grass.”

Other varieties covering significant hectares this year at his Eradu farm were Scepter, Devil and Ninja wheat, with some Rosalind and Spartacus CL barley.

For more information, contact Kynan Jackson at InterGrain, Mob 0427 855 059 or Email kjackson@intergrain.com