Flexibility at sowing time influenced Walebing grower Kieran Popplewell to put InterGrain’s new oaten hay varieties, Wallaby and Kultarr to the test in 2022.
In 2022, Kieran trialled new oaten hay varieties, mid-slow maturing Wallaby and mid-maturing Kultarr alongside mid-quick maturing Yallara.
“We were keen to try out the two new varieties to see how they could fit in our program. They both have very different maturities and looked quite different in the paddock with Kultarr being quite tall,” said Kieran.
“We were very impressed with the varieties at harvest and cutting. We cut some of the trial blocks for hay and harvested the rest for seed.”
Farming with parents Rebecca and Graham, Kieran Popplewell runs GKR Farms, an 8,500 ha mixed cropping and merino enterprise. The Popplewell’s cropping program consists of a mix of 4,500 ha of wheat, 2,500ha of canola, 1,300 hectares of pasture, 10,000 head of merino wethers and a recent addition of 800 hectares of oaten hay.
2022 was Kieran’s third year of export hay production, as he focuses on finding the right hay variety with the best fit for the program.
“We introduced a hay rotation into our program to tackle weed issues inherited through acquiring new properties and to provide sowing flexibility to ease time pressure at seeding,” said Kieran.
“We’ve also found that hay is a good choice in tougher seasons out here.
“18 ha of each variety were sown alongside Yallara in the first week of June. It was sown with 34 units of nitrogen at seeding and topped up with a further 50 units across two installments through the season. We also applied two fungicides through the season with one of those being applied 4 weeks before cutting.
“The differences in maturity were obvious when it came to cutting the hay. The mid-maturing varieties Kultarr and Yallara were cut on the 30th of September with Wallaby being left a further 3 weeks in the paddock before being cut.
“The Kultarr and Yallara averaged 10 t/ha for hay and the seed crops averaged 3 t/ha. Wallaby’s seed crop yielded higher at 3.8 t/ha and averaged 7 t/ha for hay.
“Whilst Wallaby had a lower hay yield, we were pleased with its superior hay quality compared with the Yallara and Kultarr and were happy with the higher grain yield as well.”
Overall Kieran was impressed with the two new hay varieties Wallaby and Kultarr and plans to sow both this season and test out different sowing times to get the best potential out of the varieties.
“It will be interesting to see how Wallaby performs when sown earlier as it has a longer maturity and I’m hoping Kultarr will fit in well for our later sowing opportunities”.
Wallaby and Kultarr are complementary varieties providing oaten hay growers alternative options.
“Mid-slow maturing Wallaby was bred targeting exceptional oaten hay quality, with very high digestibility and WSC, whilst delivering high yields and an effective disease resistance profile,” said InterGrain Oat Breeder Allan Rattey.
“Kultarr is a mid-maturing variety well suited to medium to low rainfall environments, it offers high hay yields and has tall standability, even though it is a tall variety, an advantage in tougher seasons.
Both Wallaby (MRp) and Kultarr (MRp) offer effective oat leaf rust resistance.
These two new lines are available to WA growers this season through Melchiorre Seeds in Narrogin.