Western district finalist from Berrigan
When ascribing the success of his 18 hectares Lancer wheat in winning the Berrigan Show Society dryalnd wheat competition, grower Mark Ryan, “Equity Park”, Berrigan notes the application of organic matter in the form of pig manure to his paddock.
Mr Ryan raises pigs under contract and each 22 weeks has a fresh supply of fertile organic matter to be spread across the cropping area of his mixed enterprise property south of Berrigan.
“We have a lot of pig manure, and building organic matter is making all the difference in retaining soil moisture,” Mr Ryan said.
“We don’t burn our stubble, but bale it after harvest and use it as bedding for each batch of pigs we rear.”
That process must be the ultimate in re-cycling on a farm, and Mr Ryan said it has been a saver in this ‘very difficult season’.
“It was soon into canola stubble and there would have been some residual moisture from last year’s heavy spring rain,” he said.
Having won the local competition, the crop of Lancer sown on 10 May at the rate 70kg/ha seed and 80kg MAP was a finalist in the ASC/Suncorp 2017 Dryland Wheat Competition and judged by Paul Parker, Young.
With only 199mm rain recorded during the growing season, Mr Parker noted some disease in the crop although he was not initially sure as to the source due to the crop rotation favored by Mr Ryan: canola followed by wheat for two years and then canola.
“There is a lot of crown rot, especially in the damper patches, but scattered right through the crop,” Mr Parker noted.
“Unfortunately it is going to have a significant impact on your yield.”
Mr Parker said crown rot is a disease prevalent in dry years and that is why it has significance in the current difficult season.
“There has also been some of the lower areas frosted, obviously the cold air drained into those places,” he said.
“Every crop has been affected this year.”
Mr Parker pointed out some growth of ryegrass which was of concern as Mr Ryan had sprayed the paddock with 210ml Topik and 500ml MCPA on 9 July.
“It would suggest to me strongly you have a resistance issue, and the cold frosty mornings may have reduced the efficacy,” he said.
Mr Ryan thought his overall weed control has been as successful this past season as in previous years.
“Frost may have impacted on it, but I think you will have to look at your herbicides,” Mr Parker said.
Mr Ryan said his plan is to sow vetch and oaten hay into the paddock next year.
“That is how we try to clean our paddocks,” he said.
That should do a good job, according to Mr Parker, who was overall impressed with the crop.
“In a difficult year, well done,” he said.
The 2017 Australian Societies Council of NSW/Suncorp Bank Dryland Wheat Competition is sponsored by Lowes Petroleum, Stoller Australia and The Land.