A sunflower seed developed in Australia that has been performing for major global producers for the past decade has just become available here.
Now known as SV60066 – and primed for use across NSW growing regions - the hybrid was bred by SV Genetics in 2006. By the following year it was being harvested in South Africa and Pakistan and is still a mainstay in both countries, along with Brazil and Bolivia. SVG’s main research centre is in Toowoomba and seed production is based in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
Tasked with selling the seed in what SVG perceives as a burgeoning Australian market is William Bazley.
Mr Bazley had some seed this year for the domestic market and after visiting some growers found John McPhee, McPhee Farms, “Mt Desmond”, Ryeford, QLD.
Mr McPhee put down 240 hectares of SV60066.
It’s a decision set to pay off.
Mr Bazley said his seed was six to eight days later to mid flowering compared with other varieties available.
“This helped its performance because it got off to a dry start,” he said.
“They were planted on very marginal moisture, but got an excellent strike on January 11 and for the first 36 days received just 28 millimetres of in-crop rain.
“In those 36 days the plants survived many days more than 38 degrees Celsius, which is unseasonal, but in the last three weeks they’ve received 150mm of rain and been set up for good finish,” Mr Bazley said.
That’s an opinion backed up by the brothers behind Paradise Farms, Tim and John Reardon.
Paradise Farms, based out of Gunnedah, is Australia’s only commercial de-huller of sunflower seeds and generally takes about 3000 to 5000 tonnes of raw seed each year to produce kernels used in the baking industry.
By-product goes into horse feed, sold under the Omega Feeds label.
The brothers took a look at the new crop on Monday and were suitably impressed.
“It looks good,” said Tim, “it’s got nice big plump seeds, which is what we’re looking for.”
Mr Bazley said SV60066 had good potential for the Australian market, with large heads and strong stalks meaning it stands up well to windy conditions.
Its disease resistance was an added bonus, he said, and “we’ve never had a lodging problem anywhere in the world”.
Until about two years ago, when Pakistan’s government introduced incentives to plant wheat, the Australian strain captured about 25 per cent of the Pakistani market
For people who want to look for themselves a field day is planned for April 12 at McPhee Farms.
Phone Mr Bazley on 0409 770 386 to book or for more information.