NEWSLETTER NO. 227 JULY, 2005
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION $33 to: EDITOR – A. Rathjen
Jill Mosey articles welcome; fax: (08) 8303 6735
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Next Meeting ‘Remaining Season and Chemical Police’
Venue Stefanson Theatre, Roseworthy Campus
Date Thursday 15th September, 2005
Time 7:30 pm
Bill Long: Consultant, Yorke Peninsula
‘Weed control with crop-topping and windrowing’
In 1994, Bill did a couple of trials on crop topping cereals but for various reasons these trial results
have not been released until now. Bill will also talk about using windrowing, which is another
mechanical option which in the war against weeds.
Peter Hooper: Consultant, Clare
‘Yield prophet update’
As we get to the business end of the season according to the yield prophet model: how much stored
water is available and what are the likely yields for our crops.
This is a topical talk on the practical and legal implications of letting your spray get away onto the
neighbours. As a result, chemical exclusion zones may be coming to your district! What are these
zones and how are they going to be enforced?
Dr Bob Holloway – the end of an era.
The 2005 Minnipa Ag Centre (MAC) Field Day on September 22nd will be the last MAC Field Day
for Bob Holloway prior to his retirement next year.
Bob has committed 28 years to MAC, agriculture and research and along the way he has been part of
discoveries that have improved yields and increased the understanding of agriculture in low rainfall
The program for the day is also shaping up to be one of the best in recent years.
The morning session will kick off with a presentation from Peter Hayman of SARDI in Adelaide who
is a recognised expert in the field of climate change and forecasting. We have asked Peter to speak
on what climate change could mean for low rainfall communities and agriculture. Peter is an
entertaining speaker and will also work with MAC staff on the new EP Farming Systems in the
The field day program will also include work on inter row sowing for disease control, dry sowing
with Clearfield varieties, a small paddock of the new Juncea canola, research into understanding soil
moisture and how to manipulate that moisture to improve grain yield and quality, fluid fertilisers,
disease suppression investigations on EP, grazing potential of cereals and much more.
The day will once again end with the AWB sponsored MAC Farming Systems Competition. With the
big research team win in 2005, the friendly rivalry between teams is really hotting up, fuelled by the
defection of local MAC Agronomist, Fish Cordon, to join the consultants team.
Special guests for the day will include the GRDC southern panel, a contingent from the Birchip
Cropping Group and all sorts of invited guests from Bob Holloway’s past.
After the field day, instead of the debate of previous years, there will be a stroll down Bob’s memory
lane in the Minnipa Pub, starting from about 5.15 pm. Many people would have heard Bob speak
before with his plethora of hilarious stories about himself and the people he has worked with over the
MAC staff would like to encourage anyone who has worked with Bob, been influenced by his work
or has simply been his friend, to come along and share this special event.
For more information on the day contact Minnipa Agriculture Centre admin staff on 86805104.
A Dearth Of Suitable Wheat Varieties For The Mallee?
Richard Saunders, SARDI, Loxton, 8595 9152, email@example.com
A question that is often asked in the Mallee is - what suitable AH or APW varieties are available or
on the horizon to replace what I’ve got? There appear very few viable replacements that prove
productive and profitable in harsh growing conditions of the Mallee. Growers have tended to settle
on one, two or three varieties that satisfy the growth and profitability demands, and this is evident in
the receival figures presented below. Evaluation trials across the Mallee each year test numerous
new varieties from local and interstate breeding companies, yet very few end up earning a significant
place and trust of Mallee growers.
There are probably more questions than answers as to the current patterns of varieties in the Mallee,
and some of them are: are we overly dependant on too few varieties? Is there an environmental need
to spread the gene pool wider, particularly in terms of rust threats, and, are the market demands being
served adequately by only two or three varieties? Why has there been a poor uptake of new varieties
on offer in SA? What are the barriers that breeders and now marketers must overcome to sell their
dominant new varieties into the Mallee market?
I am indebted to Brett Klau of ABB Grains who kindly sourced the following Mallee wheat receival
figures. For commercial confidentiality the figures presented are only percentages but include AWB
and ABB receivals for the SA Mallee region. This region is roughly bounded by the River in the
north and the Pinnaroo – Tailem Bend road in the South (excluding silos from Peake to Tailem
Bend), and is bounded east and west by the Vic border and River respectively.
In 2004/2005 season 22 varieties were received through the silo system. Only six varieties (Frame,
Yitpi, Machete, Krichauff, Spear and Wyalkatchem) make up 90% of total receivals and only two
(Frame and Yitpi) make up 72% of receivals. These two varieties have dominated receivals for three
years but may to continue for a number of years. Yitpi is seen as agronomically very similar to
Frame yet with higher yields and returns so it may simply end up a direct replacement for Frame,
achieving the same domination. Over the last six years Frame alone recorded 62.3% in 2000/2001,
and I believe the figure has been as high as 90% in the Victorian Mallee.
Given the speed at which Yitpi is increasing in receival figures, it is expected to overtake Frame in
one or two years as the dominant variety in the Mallee. Few varieties in the table above match the
strong growth that Yitpi is showing and probably that which Frame also showed. Despite its mid
season maturity Frame found a place because of its reasonable and consistent yield and good quality
and in part its ability to produce on the lighter soils along the slopes of sandhills. Many growers
were successful in establishing Frame over all their sand. The hard red sodic flats in the Mallee dune
swale system were largely sown down to Machete, which is why Machete still retains a significant
place in the Mallee. Frame was very attractive also because of its CCN and Boron resistances, and
CCN resistance is a strong consideration for Mallee growers.
Wyalkatchem is showing a promising start but early grower response is that Wyalkatchem does not
have sufficient early vigour and drive to establish in short Mallee seasons, although its Machete
parentage is attractive. Drysdale lacks CCN resistance and has performed poorly in paddocks in
seasons it was supposed to yield well in. Pugsley does not appear in Mallee receivals to date.
Of interest is the number of ‘older’ varieties still grown such as Machete, Krichauff, Spear and
Halberd. Both Machete and Spear appear to be on a steady decline, however, Krichauff is showing
small but consistent growth. Small market demand may be driving this rise.
Table 1. Wheat receival figures for SA Mallee by variety and season expressed as percent. Source
1999/2000 2000/2001 2001/2002 2002/2003 2003/2004 2004/2005
Frame 61.73 62.26 56.15 61.78 51.24 42.84
Yitpi 0.15 7.86 12.49 19.42 28.88
Machete 14.21 17.35 16.26 6.00 14.28 11.10
Krichauff 1.00 1.19 1.78 2.56 2.26 4.00
Spear 4.59 3.66 3.76 4.60 2.83 2.21
Wyalkatchem 0.01 1.98
Excalibur 1.17 1.79 1.91 0.32 1.16 1.55
Kukri 0.03 0.67 0.71 1.37
Halberd 5.74 3.81 3.70 1.55 2.07 1.16
Barunga 2.49 2.87 2.13 1.94 1.46 1.11
Janz 2.68 2.48 1.68 1.47 1.12 0.86
Silverstar 2.99 0.99 0.81 0.97 0.49 0.58
H45 0.10 0.81 2.67 1.25 0.34
Dagger 1.12 0.90 0.92 1.02 0.54 0.31
Clearfield Janz 0.08 0.31
Condor 0.60 0.43 0.75 0.31 0.15 0.25
Camm 0.00 0.07 0.15 0.19
Westonia 0.09 0.09 0.19 0.17
Trident 0.53 0.38 0.63 0.88 0.20 0.10
Stiletto 0.08 0.05 0.01 0.05
Ouyen 0.67 0.58 0.26 0.03 0.00
Blade 0.05 0.18 0.16 0.14
Kite 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07
Molineux 0.10 0.05 0.05 0.05
Takari 0.08 0.13 0.09 0.01
Warigal 0.01 0.01
100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Kukri is another displaying variety consistent growth, better returns for its quality would probably
attract more growers. Halberd is grown predominantly on high Boron area, yet there is still great
respect and fondness for Halberd.
Figure 1. The top six received varieties in the Mallee in 2004/2005 over six years, 1999/2000 to
2004/2005 as percentage of their combined totals.
Mallee Wheat Variety Receivals
(source ABB Grains)
Frame Yitpi Machete
Krichauff Spear Wyalkatchem
Yitpi is the most attractive variety currently in the Mallee because of consistent yields, quality and
profitability, and this has been enhanced with its designation as a premium choice variety, which
adds $5 per tonne delivered. Frame and Yitpi represent the type of wheat and wheat plant that
Mallee growers want to grow – vigorous, CCN resistant, large grained, good protein levels,
consistent, CCN resistant, boron tolerant and grows better than any other variety on lighter soils.
Is the reliance on one or two varieties in the Mallee a concern? Rust years are few and far between
but are the new races of rusts going to pose a threat to the Mallee more often?
The poor uptake of new varieties may also be a result of the barriers in the PBR system. New seed is
very expensive and where once varieties were easily traded across the fence, the purchase of a new
variety is weighed and considered before expensive investment. The choice of wheat variety for the
Mallee can dramatically affect the profitability and so variety mistakes are to be avoided.
Thanks to Brett Klau ABB Grains, Loxton.
Canola Establishment In Heavy Stubble: Residue Manager Trials
Jack Desbiolles, University of SA: Research funded by SAGIT
Interest in residue managers has increased in recent years, as the ability to reliably establish crops in stubble is
key to maximise the benefits of surface residue retention. Jack Desbiolles, UniSA, is investigating the
effectiveness of four residue managers in standing and slashed stubble. At Curramulka (YP) in a shallow Grey
Mallee loam soil, TT Tornado canola was sown at 4.2kg/ha into barley stubble using a double shoot narrow
point sowing system (Morris Gumbo boot) and a single shoot disc opener (Flexi-Coil Barton).
The 450-500mm high stubble reached 2.5-3t/ha, with up to 4-5t/ha measured in the header trail. The slashed
conditions kept mostly long straw length and emphasized thicker residue patches up to 6-7t/ha due to a slight
windrowing tendency of the slasher used. Sowing was conducted at right angle to the stubble rows and
harvesting direction, to control variability and put the residue managers to the test.
A tine system was tested with and without a US prototype tug-wheel concept at both 10” and 18” row spacings
(the latter simulating a possible ‘double’ row spacing sowing configuration). The tug-wheel continuously runs
beside the tine and its function is to pin the stubble to the soil, promoting a more continuous residue flow by
minimising clumping tendency around the tine shank. The wheel features soft rubber fingers, which deform
on contacting the ground to maximise the contact area while trapping stubble to the ground.
Three alternative residue managers (Yetter, Gessner and a light spring tine) were tested with the disc seeder, at
10” row spacing. These managers can be described as ‘row cleaners’ designed to move the stubble out of the
disc path to prevent hair-pinning, ie when the stubble is not cut but pushed into the seeding slot, and improve
The Yetter fingered wheel (USA) and the less aggressive Gessner version (QLD) act as rotary rakes shifting
the stubble out of the path of the disc. The spring ‘tickle’ tine is a cheap alternative suitable for very short
(slashed) stubble conditions, set at a working depth of 10-15mm, and relying on its vibratory characteristics to
scatter the stubble either side. Under the experimental conditions, these managers were operated at 6kph only
to minimise interactions with adjacent rows (ie. pushing stubble partly across to the next row). Shorter
mulched straw length and wider row spacing would facilitate the operation of this technology.
Data sampled included clumping levels (for tine treatments) and crop emergence (tine and disc treatments).
Snail damage despite baiting was high in the standing stubble, and made worse under the wider row spacing,
which resulted in significant bias on crop emergence data.
Clumping levels were assessed as the proportion of seed row length covered by significant clumps (ie. either
blocking or hindering seedling emergence). The tug wheel successfully reduced clumping levels from 17.5%
(10” row spacing tine control) to 7.9%. At 18” row spacing, the tug-wheel similarly reduced clumping levels,
from 8.7% (control) to 4.0%. Similar tug wheel benefits were obtained in the slashed stubble (reduction from
10.5% to 4.2%). Table 1 contains details of crop emergence results, which confirm small benefits (gain of up
to 13 plants/m²) from row cleaners. More significant improvements would be expected in short mulched
stubble and at wider row spacing, where these row cleaners can operate more aggressively without interacting
with adjacent rows. The crop emergence results also show significant loss (24-46 plants/m²) in canola
establishment due to stubble with both tines and disc systems. A similar trial was conducted at Wolseley,
South East, in a red sticky clay soil, confirming similar trends in the data to date.
It pays to Prepare
Peter Botta: Department Primary Industries Victoria
Plan for profit
Increasingly, grain growers are storing grain in the hope of improving the overall price that they receive. Once
a grower decides to market their grain they face a whole new ballgame. To ensure success, the need for careful
planning is essential. Grain insects, enduser requirements, maintaining quality and contracts are a few of the
issues at hand.
The most important thing to do is to understand the markets you wish to supply and their requirements. All of
this takes careful planning and may mean improving or increasing storage facilities. Markets are increasingly
demanding grain free of chemical residues. In sealed storage, grain can be fumigated effectively, providing
quick, inexpensive and long lasting insect control without the problem of pesticide residues.
Keep it clean
Prevention is better than cure. It is easier and better to prevent an infestation than to treat an existing one.
Any grain spills should be cleaned up immediately wherever they may be but particularly around the storage
area. To help cleaning up, spray out or remove any weeds around the storage area. Silos mounted on a slab are
easier to clean and keep clean.
Plan your storage area to ensure easy access and use.
Once storage structures and handling equipment have been cleaned they should be treated with a structural
treatment. Dryacide® be used to treat storage and handling equipment for residual control. Dryacide® can be
applied as either a dust or a slurry and is widely used by bulk handling authorities as a surface treatment for
storage facilities. can The slurry should be applied to the point of run-off and the dust applied to give a thin
coating to the treated surface. Always read and follow label directions.
Identify your markets
Identify your markets to ensure only acceptable grain treatments are used. Generally, grain to be stored for more
than six weeks should be treated. Grain can be treated with a protectant when it is added to storage or fumigated
in a sealed silo. Most contact protectants give between 3 and 6 months protection. This period is dependent upon
the moisture content and temperature of the grain. Too high a moisture content and temperature can lead to the
rapid breakdown of protectants and leave grain vulnerable to attack. Always aim to store grain at a moisture
content of 12% or less and at a temperature of 25o C or less. This will also help to limit the activity of insects and
avoid grain spoilage from moulds and fungi.
When using protectants always read and follow label directions, calibrate, mix and apply chemicals correctly
and always wear the recommended safety gear.
High moisture and temperature can affect grain in many ways. Insects are more active, spoilage can occurdue to
moulds and fungi and seed viability can be affected. Always aim to store grain at a moisture content of 12% and
at 25 oC or less. Harvest temperatures are often 30 oC, and in summer, temperatures in silos can exceed 40oC. So
how can you keep grain cool? With existing galvanised silos a coat of white paint will go a long way to keeping
temperatures down. The more brilliant white the paint is the more reflective it will be. If you are buying a new
silo ask that they be made of zincalume or colorbond.
When harvesting, target cool grain to be stored on-farm. This may mean harvesting when moisture can be high, a
moisture meter can be used to ensure moisture limits are not exceeded. Installing an aeration system will further
assist in cooling grain
Grain should be regularly monitored to detect any problems which may arise. Early detection of insects prevents
numbers building up and potential reinfestation of other sites. Inspect storages fortnightly in summer and
monthly in winter. Insects are not evenly distributed in a silo. They seek out the most favourable places, such as
the grain peak, and around any hatches where moisture can get in.
Be sure with sealed storage
In a sealed silo, grain can be fumigated effectively providing quick, inexpensive and long lasting insect
control. Market flexibility is greatly enhanced because grain is stored residue-free.
When considering new storage then sealed storage should be seriously considered.
Like any piece of equipment on the farm sealed silos need to be well maintained to work. Seals should be
checked before each filling and replaced if worn or damaged. Always pressure test the silo to see that it is
Spectacular moth flight
Dennis Hopkins, SARDI
During the last three to four days of August, there has been a spectacular flight of the moth, the lesser
budworm, right across the state from Ceduna in the west to Renmark in the east. The lesser
budworm, (Heliothis punctifera formerly called Neocleptria punctifera) is a species of noctuid moth
that is usually recorded from the pastoral districts of central Australia. It is a near relative of the
native budworm, Helicoverpa punctigera (formerly called Heliothis punctigera), which is a species
that migrates from inland Australia to agricultural districts each year in spring and is recognised as a
major pest of pulse and oilseed crops. At the time of writing this article, there have been no reports of
any flights of the native budworm in SA, as yet.
On this occasion, the flights of the lesser budworm were so thick at times, drivers reported problems
with visibility and there are many reports where the moths were likened to a snow fall or a dense
swarm of locusts. The lesser budworm is a species that usually occurs in northern outback SA and
builds up in numbers following significant rains which trigger bursts of vegetation growth. This can
occur over large areas and this coupled with its ability to fly large distances has led to many reports
in pastoral districts and occasional reports in agricultural areas in the past. On this occasion, the
numbers have been extremely high and the flights spread over most of the state making it the largest
moth flight observed in the state for at least 30 years.
As of September 5, there are moths scattered through agricultural crops state-wide and it is possible
this could result in significant numbers of caterpillars in a few weeks time. As we have limited
information about the lesser budworm’s feeding habits, behaviour and pest status in agricultural
crops, all growers state-wide are being encouraged to monitor crops in about three to four weeks for
caterpillar activity. Should significant numbers of caterpillars begin to be observed, it is possible that
some control measures may need to be applied.
Lesser Budworm (left) and Native Lesser Budworm in Ceduna
Budworm (right) (courtesy of The West Coast