Reaping yield rewards from Vixen in NSW

11 February 2021 Wheat News

Exceptional yields and ease of harvestability were the major benefits from the decision to expand plantings of Vixen wheat in 2020 for Paul and Shirley Tognetti.

The great start to their growing season also supported the performance of this new high yielding, quick-to-mid-spring maturing Australian Hard variety bred by InterGrain.

Paul Tognetti said he had trialled 15 hectares of Vixen in 2019 on the Grenfell, New South Wales, property ‘Myee’ that he manages for David and Rebecca Hurst, who operate as Lake Hawdon Proprietors.

That proved to be a very dry year, in which the local district received only 285 millimetres of annual rainfall (less than half of the long-term average of 634mm).

The Vixen was sown alongside Mustang and Hellfire wheat and all were subject to the same agronomic management.

Despite the dry conditions in 2019, Vixen out-yielded Hellfire by 0.5 tonnes per hectare and Mustang by 0.3t/ha.

“Its performance in that drought year was really encouraging, and we decided to grow it again on a paddock scale in 2020,” Paul said.

Yields across the Vixen paddock during the 2020 harvest reached up to 6.6t/ha and averaged 6.1t/ha, spurred along by a an above average growing season rainfall on the property of 473mm.

Paul said the grain size and weight of Vixen in 2020 were excellent and it achieved APW1 or H2 grade at harvest receival.

“We have now seen Vixen can yield exceptionally well in both wet and dry seasons,” he said.

“Aside from this, the new variety is really easy to harvest, producing a nice clean sample.

“It didn’t lodge like the Beckom did unexpectedly this past season in the wetter conditions.

“Its good straw strength and compact plant type meant it was easy to manage.”

The Vixen was sown on June 25, 2020, at a rate of 60 kilograms/ha, giving the Tognettis a good option for a late sowing time when solid opening rains early in the season slowed down their seeding operations.

It was well suited to the predominantly sandy clay loams on the property, which receive an average growing season rainfall of 376mm.

For the 2020 season, there was a total 709mm of rain recorded in the gauge, after the autumn break in March.

The season break occurred in March with a solid 83mm of rain falling, followed by 141mm in April, most of the 473mm growing season rainfall fell before the Vixen crop was sown, but it made the most of the remaining rain that fell through the season.

Paul employs a diverse crop rotation on Myee, with about half of the 2000ha winter crop area sown to wheat, 35 per cent planted to canola and the remaining area split between barley and a vetch/oats mix.

Wheat is typically sown from the first week of May, starting with a slightly longer season variety, such as Coolah, and then moving into Beckom or Mustang, and finishing with a quicker option, such as Vixen, for the later part of the sowing window.

InterGrain Wheat Breeder, Dan Mullan, said growers had welcomed Vixen as an exceptionally high yielding variety that could be sown late and finish early.

“It has performed consistently well across a range of environments in national InterGrain and Grains Research and Development Corporation National Variety Trials (NVT),” he said.

“This highlights its yield stability.”

Dr Mullan said the new variety was bred for a moderate plant height, which had the advantage of reducing stubble loads in high yielding environments.

He said Vixen also offered a robust disease package, including good yellow spot (MRMS), stem (MRMS) and stripe rust (MRMS – pathotype dependent) resistance.

Vixen is available from Seedclub members, resellers and through farmer-to-farmer trade.

For more information on Vixen, click here.

> Image supplied by Jacqui Bateman Photography