Deciding what best to plant as a rotation crop requires a detailed understanding of paddock history and local knowledge.
When the Smith family at Northam in WA were weighing up their options for a rotation on their Clearfield® oat paddocks, they decided on a Pioneer Seeds canola hybrid that best suited their unique situation.
Located about an hour east of Perth, generations of the Smith family have been farming at Northam for more than a century. These days they mainly focus on hay and stock feed.
Alongside his father Ray and brother Jayden, Brett Smith recently planted 180 hectares (440 acres) of Pioneer’s new PY520TC canola as a rotation in oat stubble over predominately loamy clay soils.
[Photo: The Smith Family's canola crop on their Northham WA farm is now flowering. Image: Darren Smith]
When Rob Bagley (longtime Farm Services Consultant with Pioneer ® Seeds) discussed the paddock’s history with Brett, he suggested PY520TC canola to give him more flexibility with his plant-back this year and get on top of any persistent weeds.
A major factor was the previous use of a herbicide commonly used in cereal crop weed management, which might have limited the Smith’s plant-back options for the next few years.
“We planted Clearfield oats last year and used an imi [imidazolinone] chemical, which means we can't sow a conventional canola for 24 months due to residues that may cause crop damage,” Brett says.
PY520TC is Pioneer’s first proprietary triazine tolerant canola hybrid based on its market leading Y Series® germplasm.
One benefit of combining the triazine and Clearfield® herbicide tolerances is that it allows greater flexibility to growers such as Brett who are looking for alternate weed management strategies.
“Our options for planting next year on that paddock are now pretty well open,” Brett says.
“If we had gone with a straight Clearfield, we would have had to go with another Clearfield oat, I’d say.”
“I think it’s good to rotate the chemical we use against weeds and looking at the new canola, it’s definitely a good crop.”
Brett’s main weed concerns at Northam are low levels of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum), barley grass (Hordeum spp.), wild oats (Avena spp.) and radish (Raphanus raphanistrum).
“It’s certainly not a big weed bank there, but we do like the Clearfield because it gives us control over the barley grass. And numbers can build up.”
The exceptional early growth of Brett’s canola helped drive crop competition and further reduce weed seed set.
By mid-July the Smith family’s canola had already reached about 10-15% flowering from planting in April.
Because the Smiths have never grown canola in these paddocks before, they don’t expect to have much of a problem with blackleg (Leptosphaeria maculans).
PY520TC offers excellent blackleg resistance, along with other sought-after characteristics such as high yield, good vigour, standability and shatter tolerance.
Brett says he applied a fungicide and additional urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertiliser, and now he’s looking forward to a good harvest at the end of the year.
“Hopefully we get a good rotation, in the cropping phase. And the weed management will help us to get on top of the weeds,” he says.
“With an average amount of rain here, canola is definitely a profitable crop.”
About Pioneer Seeds
In Australia, the production, sales, marketing and distribution of Pioneer® brand hybrid corn, sorghum, summer forage and canola seeds, and silage inoculant products are exclusively undertaken by GenTech Seeds – a Yates family company with a proud history in the seed business and a strong commitment to the future of farming.
Pioneer® brand canola hybrids offer a choice of standalone or combined herbicide tolerance systems such as Clearfield®, Triazine and Roundup Ready®. New Optimum GLY® herbicide tolerance trait hybrid canola will also be offered commercially by Pioneer Seeds in Australia from 2024.
Above: The Smith Family recently planted 180 hectares (440 acres) of Pioneer’s new PY520TC canola in oat stubble at Northam, WA (Image: Rob Bagley).