Making cunning decisions at time of sowing can reap yield rewards at the business end of the season, especially if wheat crops are hit by dry spring conditions.
Doug Houston and his cropping manager Brendan Shoard believe they made a cunning call this season when on May 23 they planted 13 hectares of InterGrain’s Vixen at 75kg/ha at ‘Redfern Downs’, Wombat, 15km south-west of Young, New South Wales.
Classified an Australian Hard (AH) wheat, in the South-Eastern zone, Vixen is the highest yielding, early to mid-flowering (similar to Spitfire) AH wheat in Southern NSW based on 2014-18 Southern NSW Multi-Environment Trial (MET) data*.
It offers a large yield advantage, on average, compared to Condo (approx. 5-6%) and Spitfire (approx. 14%) in Southern NSW *.
Having taken out the Young District Agricultural Societies Council of NSW Dryland Wheat Competition, their Vixen crop averaged three tonnes per hectare when harvested in the last week of November, down from earlier estimates of 3.7-3.9t/ha. According to Doug and Brendan, this reflected the dry season.
It also had very high protein at 16.8%, test weight of 72 and screenings of 7%.
“But imagine what we’d have enjoyed if we’d had some decent growing season rain because it had such good early vigour, getting up and going pretty hard, despite the cold start.”
“Also significant is that Vixen really suits the bob-tail springs we’ve been experiencing, because it can fill grain and finish off quickly when the season turns dry,” they noted.
Doug and Brendan explained that Vixen took the pressure off their existing main season varieties at planting, providing an earlier flowering option to spread their spring flowering windows.
“We could just leave Vixen until last and not worry about the sowing date being too late for the variety”.
Prior to sowing, summer weeds were dealt with by applying glyphosate and paraquat as a double knock in January and again in May to ensure a clean paddock for planting.
At sowing, Vixen was sown with 100kg MAP/ha, followed in July and September by in-crop applications of 100kg/ha urea to ensure adequate nitrogen.
Annual rainfall in 2019 was a tough 420mm, well down from the long-term average of around 700mm and with only 270mm falling during the growing season.
Despite this, Doug and Brendan believe Vixen has fared well.
“It was a tough call between our Vixen and Coolah crops as our entry in the dryland wheat competition, but picking Vixen proved a cunning choice, as we won the Young crop competition,” they said.
Bred by InterGrain’s Dr Dan Mullan, Vixen offers a true varietal opportunity to include within wheat programs to assist in spreading flowering windows during critical spring stress periods.
In addition to the variety’s stand-out yield performance, it offers good stripe (MRMS) and stem (MRMS) rust and yellow leaf spot (MRMS) resistance.
Vixen has strong physical grain characteristics, with good grain size and hectolitre weight and also short plant height, which may assist stubble management in high yielding crops.
For more information about Vixen click here or contact InterGrain Eastern Territory Manager Katherine Munn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0436 801 161
*Data accessed from the NVT Online website on 26/11/2019.
Wombat grower Doug Houston and cropping manager Brendan Shoard are pleased with Vixen’s performance this season with 2019’s bob-tail spring.