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OP to hybrid switch proves profitable

For grain growers, there’s no substitute for local knowledge in weighing up the value of change. Observing how new crops, products and techniques work in local soils and local weather is the best assurance that they are worth switching to.

Lah farmer Sam Tickner normally grows 44Y90 CL as his staple canola variety. Last year his agronomic consultant, Tim Pohlner from AGRIvision in Horsham, helped him set up a demonstration trial to compare the performance of three other varieties: Stingray, Trophy and BASF’s triazine tolerant hybrid InVigor® T 4510.

BASF Area Sales Manager Ashleigh Knight caught up with Sam when he had just direct-headed the crops to prevent any further losses to wind damage. Sam estimated the high winds over the previous month or so probably reduced the yield of all three varieties by around 300 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha).

While Stingray still produced 1.7 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) and Trophy 1.9 t/ha, InVigor T 4510 topped the trial by returning 2 t/ha from 1.5 kg/ha of seed sown. 

Sam said he was “very impressed” with the T 4510, which produced 42% oil and he saw as “stronger and more robust” than the other varieties he was growing. With canola prices so high, it produced a very healthy return on investment and the extra 300 kg/ha compared to Stingray added up to a valuable bonus. 

“Both the good, profitable result and that impression of a more robust variety really fit the profile of T 4510,” says Ashleigh. “We had some outstanding 2019 NVT results that showed what a great all-rounder it is. It hung in there really well in tough, dry conditions where yields are lower than round Lah, but has also got up around 3 tonnes where everything was in its favour.”

Adaptability is a key attribute in agriculture. In recent years Wimmera growers have adapted their cropping programs to recognise the increased importance and value of canola. More and more of them are investing in hybrids rather than only sowing their own retained seed. Ashleigh Knight says seeing that specific varieties can perform well under a whole range of conditions gives them extra confidence about upgrading. “Sam’s saw that InVigor T 4510 outperformed other varieties on his own farm last year,” she says. “When you add in the NVT results from the rest of the country, it's no surprise he ended up adding more T 4510 into his program for the 2020 season.”

Sam Tickner

A pretty happy Sam Tickner of Ardendale at Lah on the header last year

Pre harvest spraying

Pre-harvest spraying at 20% black seed.