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North Coast growers adopt quick wheat specialist Mustang

Mark Carter with Pacific Seeds territory manager John Eggins in Mustang wheat.

North Coast NSW growers Mark and Karen Carter are always on the lookout for quick wheat varieties to fit their cropping program, so when Pacific Seeds Mustang hit the market, they were keen to try it out.

“Most winter cereal programs on the North Coast are in rotation with soybeans in the summer, so we like a quick maturity for a main season plant because it doesn’t tie up the season at the back end,” Mr Carter said.

The pair grow oats, wheat, soybean and corn at Cedar Point near Kyogle, conduct research trials on-farm, and share farm with PB Agrifood director Peter Brodie.

Mr Carter decided to sow 160 hectares of Mustang on May 1, 2019 at a rate of 70kg/ha and top dressed it with 150kg/ha urea.

The crop established well, received a lot of rain in June (2020) and it suffered some waterlogging but recovered.

In crop rainfall was about average for the area, with 220mm falling from planting in May to harvest in October 2019.

The crop was harvested on October 18 at seven per cent moisture and had a test weight of 84kg/hL.

Mr Carter said since it was his first year planting Mustang, it had to prove itself.

“Given the five tonnes per hectare average yield across the paddock and the high quality grain, it passed the test.”

He said while Mustang is valued for its maturity, high yield and Australian Prime Hard (APH) classification in Queensland and NSW, they prefer to tap into the local dairy market with feed wheat.

“We don’t aim for APH because we’d have to freight it to Brisbane.

“It’s much better to sell the crop to local dairy farmers who are chasing grain which will provide good milk production.

“Some have been sourcing wheat from WA, but they’re finding it difficult to get the quality they require for milk production.”

The subsequent feed test results were also good news for the Carters, with the crop returning 12.5pc protein, 74.4pc starch and 13MJ/kg metabolizable energy.

Mr Carter said after the grain comes off, the stubble is baled and sold as well, so Mustang’s shorter canopy makes on-farm management and stubble handling easier.

“We like the short canopy and high vegetative growth of Mustang. We’ve also trialled round bale silage from the variety and we’re selling the baled stubble as well.”

He said Mustang’s disease package also performed well under the conditions.

“Older wheat varieties have shown problems with septoria and rust in previous seasons but Mustang didn’t display any problems.”

For this season, they planted 160ha of Mustang in late May 2020, along with a replicated trial of several old and new wheat varieties measuring 12m wide and 300m long.

They hope to extract valuable data from the trial when harvested.

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