Early sowing a focus for Cadoux cropper after using SE14 during seeding with improved results
Applying the soil moisture attraction and retention agent SE14 during seeding has achieved the desired result for Cadoux mixed farmer Stewart Avery, who “hates seeing patches in his crops”.
With a focus on getting his crops up and out of the ground, with an even paddock production across all soil types, Mr Avery partnered with SE14 manufacturer, DKSH Agrisolutions (formerly SACOA), which is also coordinating a trial on farm.
Mr Avery said the results from using SE14 so far had provided confidence to sow earlier than usual into more marginal country, even on small rainfall events, and he was expecting to improve average paddock yields.
He said, while harvest is still weeks away, it was already looking like the application had achieved a 300-700 kilograms per hectare yield gain in canola and 200-600kg/ha increase in lupin yield this season.
Mr Avery and wife Kylie farm at Manmanning, near Cadoux, with his parents Duncan and Betty — supported by farm assistant Rhylee Holmes of Hyden.
They grow wheat, barley, canola, oats, export hay and lupins over 4000ha, including leased land, and run a flock of 850 mated Merino ewes, which is expected to reduce.
Mr Avery said most of the land featured good loamy sand soils, although there were patches of white sand and poor non-wetting sands with conglomerate gravel underneath.
To improve soil health, they have been deep ripping, retaining stubbles, and transitioned to controlled traffic farming five years ago to reduce compaction.
Mr Avery said this season they added SE14, at seeding on some of the poorer soils to assess its effectiveness.
“We applied it with canola over 720ha, including some pretty good country, and also with 370ha of lupins, including some sandy areas,” he said.
“It didn’t matter where we applied it — there was a good response even on sticky white clay.
“The focus was to get the canola up and out of the ground, which helps increase yield straight away, and it definitely did that — our canola is more advanced.”
The DKSH Agrisolutions’ trial features different rates of SE14 applied with Flexi-N liquid nitrogen in canola.
In the same paddock, they have lupin seeding strips with SE14 applied at three litres/ha and 4L/ha, with the higher rate “looking far better”, Mr Avery said.
The Averys recorded 33 millimetres of rainfall on April 1, before 4-5mm was received for most of May — weather events at the end of May and start of June dumped 70-97mm over the farms.
Due to dry seeding conditions, canola sowing was delayed until April 18 and lupins until May 5, with seeding completed on May 24.
Mr Avery said considering the subsequent benefits seen with SE14, they recognised they did not need to delay.
“We were still nervous and didn’t want to seed into it due to the dry conditions, but it went well,” he said.
“With the lupins, we lost less than five per cent and I think we could have lost 30 per cent without the SE14, so we were very happy with the result.
“Looking at the canola with SE14 underneath it, 80-90 per cent germinated after seeding and it hasn’t looked back, so we should have sown at the start of April following the rain.”
He said with what they have seen using the product after the dry start this year, “we will now go early into marginal country even on small rainfall events with confidence”.
“Our last two years have been the best yields with canola and we started from late March/early April,” Mr Avery said.
“You also see the benefit in weed competition — they have been some of the cleanest crops we have had.
“Yield is king and getting the crop up in April and early May is key.”
The Averys made a small investment to add a liquid kit to their Ausplow DBS Multistream seeding system bar this season in order to utilise the SE14 during seeding, and they were now looking to add a secondary liquid system to their air cart so they could continue to reap the benefits of banding Flexi-N in addition to applying SE14.
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