Best season big boost for crops

Claire TyrrellCountryman
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Dave and Trevor Piggott are looking at their biggest ever crop.

The 2800 hectares the brothers have in the ground have been given a boost because it has been one of their wettest seasons.

Dave and Trevor moved from Bolgart to Eradu five years ago with their parents, John and Dianne.

This year 429mm of rain has fallen on their property, 163mm of it as summer rain.

"It is the best season we've had since we came up here," Dave said.

"We've had a lot of rain and warm temperatures throughout the season."

About 8mm has fallen on the Piggotts' farm this month.

"The season is starting to cut off a bit now, but it would be nice to get a bit more rain on the later crops," Dave said.

The Piggotts started sowing in late April and managed to get some of their crops to germinate from summer rain.

"We dry seeded some lupins and sowed some wheat before the rain," Dave said.

"We got 650ha of Magenta wheat up on summer rain alone."

The brothers sowed genetically modified canola for the first time on a large scale.

"All of our canola (200ha) is GM this year, after we sowed 30ha GM last year," Dave said.

They sowed hybrid variety GT Scorpion in some of their sandplain paddocks.

"We would like to start using GM with the wheat/lupins rotation on bad ryegrass paddocks," Dave said.

Dave said GM canola had proved effective for weed control.

"It has worked well. As long as you get good plant numbers once you've finished your Roundup application, the crop provides a good canopy."

The Piggotts sowed GT Scorpion as the season broke on May 15 at 2kg per hectare, with 80kg of Agstar Extra and 80 litres of Flexi-N.

They went back over the crop with 120 litres of NS41 at the four-leaf stage.

Dave said he was expecting above average yields at harvest.

"We hope to have a two-and-a-half-tonne wheat and lupin crop and 1.2 tonnes of canola," he said.

Last year, the Piggotts' wheat crop yielded two tonnes per hectare, lupins were 1.2 tonnes and canola 1.4 tonnes.

Dave said the canola performed exceptionally well last season because it was over such a small area.

The Piggotts plan to start harvesting in the last week of October.

Dave said he was happy with the state of the grain market, but didn't want to see prices fall any further.

"It is pretty profitable at the moment, but we wouldn't want the price to slip back anymore," he said. "We have forward sold about a third of our wheat."

Dave and Trevor experienced a below average year last season after receiving just 240mm of rain.

Their previous largest plantings were 2700ha last year and 2009.

The Piggotts expanded their enterprise when they moved from Bolgart in 2006, where they cropped 800ha.

The family also runs 400 breeding Merino ewes, mated to Poll Dorsets.

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