Timely sowing and rainfall has helped Premer’s Jim Mitchell grow a bumper crop of Lancer wheat, which went on to win the CH Simson Cup for best local wheat crop at the 2017 Premer Field Day.
Mr Mitchell, who has managed Romani Pastoral Company’s “Mandeville” property since 1988, harvested the crop from 2 to 5 December 2016 for a yield of 6.7 t/ha and a classification of H2.
The award is one of several presented on the day, which is run by the Premer branch of the NSW Farmers’ Association and Field Day Committee, and recognises and rewards the efforts of growers in the region.
Mr Mitchell said they planted the 130 ha of Lancer from 5-7 May 2016 into minimal subsoil moisture on a paddock fallow out of 2015-16 sorghum.
He said the opportune planting window and in-crop rainfall were the biggest contributors to the crop’s high yield.
“I’ve grown several different wheats in the past, but Lancer was chosen for its mid-late maturity, as a longer maturity provides greater opportunity to increase yield.
“It allows us an early May sowing which is important in this area, as wet conditions in June then makes sowing unviable until late July or August.
“The 2016 winter crop season was also excellent, giving us about 406 mm of growing season rain.”
Mr Mitchell said recent crop tours in Tasmania and New Zealand, where wheat can be in the ground for up to two-thirds of the year, inspired his cropping program.
“Seeing these crops brought to my attention the significance of a longer growing period. There is more time to utilize moisture and fertiliser which encourages better root development, resulting in increased yield.”
A seeding rate of 50 kg/ha was used on 33 cm row spacing, with 50 kg/ha starter applied with the seed and a 220 kg/ha application of urea in August 2016.
The 3340 ha dryland cropping and beef property produces 800 ha of wheat (including bread and dual-purpose types) and 400 ha of sorghum each year, supplementing the 750 EU accredited Angus cows and an additional 440 EU accredited Angus steers bought yearly.
“We focus on growing high yielding sorghum in summer and high yielding, high protein bread wheat in winter. Mandeville tends to grow traditional crops, avoiding boom and bust situations.”
Mr Mitchell is supported by one other permanent staff member, with casual workers making up the rest of the workforce and contractors used for seeding and harvest.
Lancer is featuring in the program again in 2017.
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