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Eradu grower heeds canola call

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Break crops are a bigger part of the program for Eradu farmer Peter Barnetson this year.

Peter increased his canola program by 400 hectares this year to 900ha and he is growing 100ha more lupins.

He said price and weed control were his two main incentives.

“The canola price is pretty good and we are growing more lupins for the rotation,” he said.

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Peter has had 180mm of rain this year so far, which was just 40mm short of his total 2010 rainfall.

He said the summer rain gave him the confidence to seed his crops earlier than usual.

“Last year we started seeding on May 15, so we are starting pretty early this year,” he said.

“Because we had all that summer rain, we don’t need a big break for the moisture to link up.”

Peter said a 10mm rain event would get his canola out of the ground.

“We’re farrow sowing, so 10mm would fall straight onto the seed,” he said.

Peter used a 50-foot Ausplow DBS to sow cobbler canola, with 3kg of canola, 90kg of macro pro and 40 litres of flexi-N per hectare.

He deep-ripped a lot more land than usual this year because of the soil moisture.

“Because of all the summer rain we’ve deep-ripped 1700ha this year, to break up the ground so the roots can get down to the moisture,” he said. “Normally we’d like to deep rip about 1200 hectares a year.”

Peter is yet to grow GM canola and said he wouldn’t start this season.

“I don’t see the economic advantage in growing GM,” he said. “The gross margins just aren’t there.”

Landmark is holding a national variety trial on Peter’s farm this season, with six canola varieties.

Canola varieties Junee, Snapper, Stingray, Cobbler, Mallee and Jardee will be grown as part of the trial.

Peter dropped his wheat program to 3500ha this year, compared with 3750 last year. He does not fallow any of his paddocks and said rotation was crucial to his program.

Peter sprayed out his paddocks twice for summer weeds. He said he felt confident about the season ahead and hoped for an early break.

“I’m confident we’re set up fairly well,” he said. “Our paddocks are clean and we’ve got moisture underneath, so we’ve got every chance of having a good season.”

Peter locked in about 10 per cent of his wheat to be sold and said he would sell more when he got germination.

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