Noodle seed selling fast

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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Colin Pearse.
Camera IconColin Pearse. Credit: The West Australian

Newly-released noodle wheat varieties Zen and Supreme have been such a success that available seed is on the brink of being sold out.

According to InterGrain, which developed and released the new varieties to growers for bulking up this year, Zen has recently sold out and Supreme is following close behind.

InterGrain would not disclose the total amount of seed available to growers this year.

InterGrain spokesman David Meharry said strong demand was encouraging and growers were looking to replace existing varieties Calingiri with Zen, and Arrino with Supreme.

Mr Meharry said long-term National Variety Trial data indicated that Zen offered a yield improvement of 5 per cent over Calingiri.

Similarly, Supreme offered a 5 per cent yield advantage over Arrino.

"The release of these new varieties is an exciting time for the WA noodle industry, as they offer growers both a quantum leap forward in yield, disease and noodle quality," Mr Meharry said.

The end point royalty on both varieties is $3.85 a tonne, plus GST.

Meckering grower Colin Pearse and his son Josh trialled the new Supreme variety over 8ha last year, and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

The Supreme yielded 11 per cent, or 250kg/ha, higher than the Pearses' nearby Arrino wheat crop.

Colin was pleased with the test weight, which was higher than Arrino although lower in protein (10 per cent), which he expected given the additional yield obtained from Supreme.

Screenings were similar across the two varieties.

He also described the Supreme as easy to harvest as it threshed well through the header.

The Pearses harvest as low as they possibly can to collect weed seeds, and then place them in windrows on their tramlines to decompose, thereby reducing herbicide requirements.

"Supreme is quite short, which is beneficial as we can increase the header capacity," Colin said.

"It enables us to get over the ground a bit faster."

He was particularly impressed by the lack of signs of disease within the Supreme trials.

"The disease profile covers all angles, including rust, yellow spot and septoria," he said. Supreme's excellent triple rust resistance was one of the key attractions for the Pearses trialling the variety, in addition to its yield advantage over Arrino.

This year Colin and Josh will plant about 13ha to Supreme at a seeding rate of 75kg a ha, to bulk up seed.

Colin Pearse said whether they would plant a bigger crop in future years would depend on the noodle wheat price, which is no longer featuring its attractive premium over APW1.

The traditional ANW1 to APW2 spread has averaged an $11 premium to APW2 since deregulation in 2008, according to MarketAg independent grain marketing advisor Richard Vincent.

At the start of harvest last year, the spread was at evens, and by the end of December ANW1 was at a $23 discount to APW2.

The spread now sits at a $15 discount to APW2 for old crop.

The new crop spread is at a $3 discount to APW1 (the new benchmark base grade), Mr Vincent said.

"The 2013 wheat harvest was a record and these carryover stocks combined with the 2014 harvest supplies saw the premium eroded," he said.

Colin said if the premium for noodle wheat returns, they would likely plant around a third of their total wheat crop to the Supreme variety and were bulking up seed this year in hopes the price will improve in the future.

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