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Growers jump on promising outlook for wheat

Jack Rockliff

Due to a rapidly changing export market, the Australian agriculture industry faces a growing need to embrace market diversification, with farmers across the country changing their business models to leverage various growing opportunities.

Growers who have previously depended on a set rotation, are considering the introduction of different crops to take advantage of new, more innovative seed varieties.

Third generation farmer Jack Rockliff, from Dalby-based Rockliff Farming said that although his family had been out of the wheat game for years, a strong recommendation from their agronomist for the Pacific Seeds Reliant wheat variety was hard to ignore.

“We took over some neighbouring lease country and had a bit of water in one of the irrigation dams, so we considered the benefit of growing wheat. Our agronomist suggested Reliant and we were keen to give it a go,” said Mr Rockliff.

“The characteristics of Reliant were certainly attractive and our experience with it was really positive.”

Reliant is a consistently high yielding mid-season maturity variety suited to NSW and QLD. It has an APH classification in Northern NSW and QLD and a reliable grain package made up of good grain size and high test weights.

“The first time we planted was during a particularly tough season, but despite that we were happy with the results and the quality,” said Mr Rockliff.

“We replanted the Reliant variety in 2020 and it’s probably been the best winter crop we’ve ever seen. We’d been very fortunate with rain fall, and management plays a role in the outcome too – we were very pleased with the result.

“It adapted well, we dry planted early and jagged a couple of early storms that made us nervous for crop risk, and then we also dry planted late.

“We wondered how it would go but I’d say it adapts well to the conditions, that’s for sure.”

Following a late-forming but moderate La Niña in 2020–21, wheat production outcomes across much of the country for 2021–22 are likely to be average to above average due to higher soil moisture levels.

“We’re playing a bit of a waiting game with the weather at the moment. We’re preparing for our winter crop and waiting on a bit more rainfall to fill the profile again. The plan is to go back to a 30 or 40 per cent winter crop program,” said Mr Rockliff.

“This will be our third season of growing Reliant. After observing the results over two very different winter seasons, the adaptability of the Reliant variety has been impressive.”

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