Harper proves worth in dry

No BylineThe West Australian

Kuender farmer Ruben Smith's decision to use Harper to replace Yitpi wheat plantings this year has been further validated given the warm dry finish to the season.

Mr Smith of Warrego Farms, north of Lake Grace, bulked up Harper - a high-yielding Australian Premium White variety - last year, next to his Yitpi and was impressed with the results.

"The Harper yielded 2.4t/ha whereas the Yitpi was 1.9t/ha, so that's a massive 500kg/ha benefit. Even with Yitpi as an AH and Harper as an APW, the Yitpi didn't stack up," Mr Smith said.

"Last year, our Yitpi was flat on the deck and very hard to pick up with the header front, but the Harper held up well with better straw strength and with a higher yield.

"We also harvested the Harper last and had no falling number or grain quality issues.

"So we figured we would go the whole way with it this year and tossed out the Yitpi in favour of the Harper."

Mr Smith sowed 300ha of Harper on canola stubble and clover pastures about mid-May and has been just as pleased so far. "It's looked great all year," he said.

"The Harper had good early vigour and has tillered well, which has been good for weed competition.

"The canopy has been clean all year and has stayed green without us needing to apply fungicide."

Mr Smith also grows Mace, canola and Scope CL Plus barley, and is finding that the Harper fits perfectly into his cropping program.

"In Lake Grace, we need a longer season option for frost mitigation, and Harper fits the bill," he said.

"Come harvest time, the Scope and canola take priority, so knowing that Harper has good sprouting tolerance it can be harvested last and it certainly takes the pressure off."

Harper, developed by InterGrain, ideally suits Agzones 4 and 5 and performs well during tough spring conditions.

It also possesses a long coleoptile and has the best black point tolerance commercially available.

"We often get dry finishes in Lake Grace, so the fact that Harper yields well for a mid to long season variety is a huge plus," he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails