New variety performs in dry conditions

Jo FulwoodCountryman

A new short-season canola variety could prove to be a profitable break crop in drier agricultural areas, particularly the eastern Wheatbelt.

A hybrid Roundup Ready genetically modified variety from DuPont Pioneer, 43Y23, has been outperforming other varieties in the Pioneer Advancement Trials, run in Northampton, Beacon, Cunderdin and Mingenew.

Trials at the Clark family's property in Beacon showed 43Y23 outperformed the triazine-tolerant Cobbler variety planted alongside it.

Brett Clark said the 43Y23 had yielded 0.65t/ha compared with 0.5t/ha for the Cobbler. "Considering the season the 43Y23 was a standout performer," Mr Clark said.

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At Davidson & Co's Cunderdin property, 43Y23 yielded 1.9t/ha in the trials.

Davidson & Co farm manager Cliff Martin said until he had seen the 2012 trial results, he had not considered canola as a viable option on his property.

"Two years ago we grew what looked like our best ever crop but it only yielded 1.4t/ha, so I thought it wasn't worth all the effort," Mr Martin said. "These results have renewed our interest in canola."

In 2013, Mr Martin plans to seed 1000ha of 43Y23. "It looked amazing, and since it's Roundup Ready, it's been good to be able to clean up the paddocks," he said.

Mr Martin said because of the dry year, he had only used one application of Roundup.

DuPont Pioneer promoting agent Rob Bagley - who ran the trials in the central and northern Wheatbelt - said results from all of the trial plots were excellent. He said 43Y23 could be "black caviar" for growers in the eastern Wheatbelt.

"Because it's such a short season variety it will allow growers out east to have a break crop that will give a return," he said.

"With canola prices where they are at the moment this could be a profitable alternative in the rotation. Every acre has to make a return in the eastern Wheatbelt."

Mr Bagley said given today's canola prices and yields at 1.9t/ha, the Cunderdin trial would return about $1130/ha gross. "Total inputs into this trial were just less than $170/ha, so that's a really cheap crop to grow with a great return," he said.

The trial was dry seeded at a rate of 2kg/ha on April 27 with no pre-emergent chemicals.

"With $50 of seed, $30 of fertiliser, $70 of nitrogen and $8 of Roundup (per hectare), this is a crop that is going to make a good return," Mr Bagley said, adding that growers should note the Monsanto technology fee of $6/kg for seed.

43Y23 was part of the 2012 National Variety Trials, the results of which have not yet been released.

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