Vixen a cunning achiever at Ungarra

27 February 2019

Eyre Peninsula grain grower Justin Modra had an exceptional first year in bulking-up seed from InterGrain’s new Australian Hard (AH) variety Vixen.

Considering himself lucky to escape the vagaries of South Australia’s challenging 2018 growing seasonal conditions, the Ungarra-based grower and seed producer reaped an average 5.5 tonnes per hectare from the company’s latest AH wheat line.

“We had a rocky start, with a staggered crop germination on the back of marginal soil moisture,” he says.

“But then we ended up having a very favorable winter, with just over 300 millimetres of rain in the gauge.

“Once the Vixen got established and growing, it was looking really good by the end of June and then it continued to have strong vigour all the way through tillering and booting.”

Justin says the wheat is currently in storage, but estimates average yield will be about 5.5t/ha when it goes over the weighbridge for verification.

He says he is very impressed with Vixen’s performance and its key early maturity trait is a great fit for his family’s farming system.

“It gives us the option of sowing from mid-May if we have good early soil moisture, without compromising yields,” he says.

“It is also encouraging to see that Vixen withstood the tough growing season conditions experienced in many parts of SA, Victoria and NSW last year, producing exceptional yields.”

In the latest 2014-18 long-term SA NVT yield performance data, Vixen has been found to be the highest yielding wheat variety in all six SA trial regions, demonstrating its broad adaptability and excellent suitability for SA wheat growers.

Justin planted Vixen on May 10 in a paddock following lentils in 2017, wheat in 2016 and canola in 2015.

He applied 100kg/ha of 27:12 fertiliser and 80kg/ha of 30:0:0:10 at the end June and ensured good weed control with knockdowns at seeding of 1.5L/ha Paraquat, 75ml/ha oxyfluorfen and a full label rate of Sakura.

InterGrain cereal breeder Dr Dan Mullan says right across the eastern seaboard last year, Vixen stood up strongly in the dry spring and winter conditions, but also produced high yields in Western Australia’s shorter, high yielding growing season.

He says the variety continues to show excellent yield stability across locations and in multiple years in all cereal growing regions.

“Vixen also has the advantage of a very solid disease resistance package, bred for good yellow leaf spot, stripe rust and stem rust resistance,” he says.

“It is rated moderately resistant to moderately susceptible (MRMS) for all three of these common and costly wheat diseases.

“It is worth noting that Vixen is rated susceptible (S) for CCN and this will need to be managed by growers in their rotation planning, and by using CCN resistant crops and varieties, such as Spartacus CL, within the crop sequence.”

Dr Mullan says Vixen has the agronomic advantage of a medium plant height, similar to Mace, which helps to reduce stubble loads in high yielding environments.

In terms of grain quality, he says it has a good grain size and comparable hectolitre weight to other commonly grown wheats.

“In our wheat breeding program, InterGrain is highly focused on combining high yield with elite quality,” he says.

“We want growers to deliver varieties with AH or greater classification and with good physical grain characteristics.”

Vixen is available for planting in 2019. But seed supplies are limited, so it is recommended interested growers place seed orders as soon as possible with local Seedclub members and/or resellers.

For more information about Vixen, click here.