Winner in a dry season

Winter cereal crop succeeds in the Riverina

Cropping
Suncorp relationship manager, Duncan Fisher, Wagga Wagga, Tom Yates, Windana, Yerong Creek, and competition judge, Paul Parker, Young.

Suncorp relationship manager, Duncan Fisher, Wagga Wagga, Tom Yates, Windana, Yerong Creek, and competition judge, Paul Parker, Young.

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Taking a cereal crop to the point of harvest through a tough season has been a great achievement for Tom Yates, Windana, Yerong Creek.

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Taking a cereal crop to the point of harvest through a tough season has been a great achievement for Tom Yates, Windana, Yerong Creek.

And to be judged winner of the local dryland wheat competition through The Rock Show Society has made his close attention to weed control and soil moisture retention all the more significant.

On the mixed enterprise operation, Mr Yates said his family grazed 1000 crossbred ewes in conjunction with their winter cropping program.

"We had 600 ewes on these paddocks over the summer to graze any weeds which germinated," he said.

"I don't think there would have been a lot of soil compaction and it did save a bit of chemical use."

The winning crop of 41 hectares of Flanker wheat was sown on May 14 at the rate of 65 kilograms a hectare with 70kg/ha of monoammonium phosphate, and followed by 100kg/ha of urea on August 22.

Soil tests are done to keep a record of the fertility of the cropping paddocks, while the chemicals applied were varied to reduce ryegrass resistance.

Mr Yates said they were aware of some ryegrass resistance and obviously tried to control the spread with chemical applications and crop rotation.

During the growing period, 126 millimetres of rain was recorded, with 113mm of that from January to April.

The winning wheat followed a lupin crop which had been preceded by barley in 2017 and wheat in 2016.

Mr Yates said the paddock had been continually cropped since it was purchased in the early 2000s, and he put his success down to weed management and the timing of sowing.

"We try to retain soil moisture and we had some fortunate falls of rain," he said.

"We break the wheat with a legume or canola and that gives us the chance to keep ahead of weed control along with using the sheep."

The Yates have 1000 tonnes of on farm grain storage which allows some flexibility with their marketing.

"If the price is right we will sell at point of harvest, otherwise we have the option of warehousing or storing in our own silos," he said.

"We haven't considered taking forward contracts for some time, and especially through the past few years when it has been a bit of an unknown with the droughts."

The 2019 ASC/Suncorp Bank Dryland Wheat Competition southern region judge, Paul Parker, Young, complimented Mr Yates on his success in winning the local competition, and being able to produce a very worthwhile product through a tough season.

"It is a very nice crop," he said.

"The trueness to type and purity are very good."

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