A crop of Maximus CL barley scoring 158.5 points was the clear winner of the Duri Ag Bureau's annual barley competition with an estimated yield of 4.1 tonnes a hectare.
Entered by Gareth Rogers, Dursley, Bithramere, the crop was double-cropped after sorghum, which was grown in the 2022/23 summer season. Before that, the paddock had grown wheat in 2021, and next year, Mr Rogers plans to grow canola. Mr Rogers' crop of Buster sorghum had been placed third in the Ag Bureau's sorghum competition announced earlier in the year.
Planted with a John Deere disc seeder with 25-centimetre spacings, the crop had a pre-sowing application of 175 kilograms of urea as a granular blend and an application of MAP of 90 kg/ha at sowing. Planting was in mid-May with 60 kg/ha, and the crop had an in-crop application of Intervix and MCPA, and no fungicide applications were needed.
The crop scored an impressive 158.5, which included 15 out of 15 for trueness to type and purity and 18/20 for freedom from disease. It scored 14/15 for crop evenness and condition and 24/25 for weed control. It also scored 26/30 for sustainable practices.
The competition's judge was Loretta Serafin from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, who said that overall average yields were back considering the season.
"Most people had very little in-crop rainfall," she said. "This season, you are starting to separate crops more so on their rotational benefits and looking for issues like Crown Rot. That is really a testament to the rotation those crops have had.
"At today's prices, I'd be very pleased to have any of those crops I saw today. Generally, they were very clean crops; there was very little in the way of weeds to talk about.
"A lot of that is being driven by the strong adoption of varieties of Maximus and Spartacus, which have enabled people to include Intervix in their spraying. So that's really tidied up a lot of paddocks and left them pretty clean," she said.
Ms Serafin said the adoption of Canola as a break crop in rotations in the Duri Ag Bureau's areas had increased markedly.
"Looking around, I can see more focus on people looking for rotational crops, and today that mainly showed up. Any crops that were back-to-back cereals, notably more than one year preceding this barley, were the crops where the Crown Rot was showing up in significant levels."
Ms Serafin said lucerne was always a strong candidate for a legume interlude in district rotations due to the strong mix of prime lamb production in local farms.
"But definitely, there's more diversification with people thinking about chickpeas, vetch, or other alternative legumes in their systems."
In second place were Gavin and Jim Hombsch, Hyland, Bithramere, scoring 149.5. This year, they also planted a crop of Maximus grown in a paddock recently growing lucerne with an estimated yield of 3.5 t/ha
This year's barley crop was grown in a conventionally worked paddock and was sown on June 1 with an Excel planter at a rate of 60kg/ha. It had a pre-sowing application of 130kg/ha of urea and 75 kg/ha of DAP at sowing. The paddock also had four cubic metres of compost and 2.2 t/ha of lime spread.
At planting, it had an application of Roundup and an in-crop spray of Intervix and LVE.
The Hombschs also won last year's Ag Bureau competition with a crop of Maximus barley.
Third place went to Rob and Kylie Lamph, Lara Downs, Winton, with a paddock of Spartacus CL that was planted on May 23 at 50 kg/ha. The crop scored 148.5 and was sown in an oats/wheat rotation in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and will be sown down to vetch next year. Ms Serafin estimated the Lamph's crop could yield 3.8t/ha.
It had a pre-planting application of 200kg/ha of Gold N followed by 60 kg/ha of Granulock 2 at planting. In-crop sprays included Intervis, MCPA and Propiconazole, a triazole fungicide.
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