A parched season one year to a saturated season the next has given southern NSW farmer Luke Barlow the confidence that his new wheat variety can yield across conditions.
Mr Barlow crops faba beans, wheat and canola on his irrigated property at Moama and canola, wheat and barley on his dryland property at Thrya, as well as running merino ewes.
He introduced Trojan wheat, a variety with mid-late maturity and good rust resistance, to the paddock in 2015.
“Trojan really surprised me. We only had 148mm of growing season rainfall and a heatwave, and it still yielded 2.5t/ha on the dryland and 5.8t/ha under irrigation,” he said.
Fast-forward to the 2016 season, when Mr Barlow sowed Trojan into bean stubble in April, and the farms received 400mm GSR.
“I gave it 50mm of water in October and at harvest in late December it yielded 8.5t/ha average and went APW.”
After taking a break from growing wheat, he said adding it back into the rotations in 2015 was a profitable decision.
“We went away from wheat for a while due to rust, but there were some varieties with moderately resistant (MR) classifications that interested us.
“I was also looking for a wheat that could perform in dryland and irrigated situations.”
Mr Barlow also likes to grow Clearfield and Roundup Ready canola to provide a weed break in the system.
“Not many in the area still grow Clearfield, but because I haven’t used Group B herbicides for so long, I can still grow it.”
He also tries his hand at summer cropping when the opportunity arises.
“We have put in some MR-Buster sorghum and PAC 301 corn in the past.
“The sorghum helps with the organic matter, both above and below the surface. The soils we had it in are now our most productive.”
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Image: Riverina farmer Luke Barlow in the middle of canola harvest.