The drought tolerance of canola is lower than wheat and barley, but soaking rain lat week means more subsoil moisture than last season.
Last season dry and watered up April sown canola germinated and emerged well on the early May rain.
Subsoil moisture ran out in the low rain and flowering month of August, and September and October in 2019.
This season most farmers have had 70-130mm and the 45 mm-65mm last week has set the subsoil moisture perfectly for autumn/winter crops.
One Berrigan farmer with 60mm last week said his subsoil moisture is at 60cm.
This season is the chance to get canola back in the rotation as a break crop.
Last season’s group results showed three dryland canola crops, sown dry between April 17 to 27, yielded a commendable 0.9t/hectare ,0.8t/hectare and 0.8t/hectare respectively.
The 0.9t/ha crop was 44Y90CL hybrid sown at 2kg/hectare into barley stubble with only a Growing Season Rainfall (GSR) to August of 105mm.
The other two Bonito crops were both sown into wheat stubble and had higher GSR to August of 136mm and 149mm. Meaning the hybrid yielded well on the low rainfall.
Past group feedback is that hybrids will only perform in good seasons.
At one group meeting, a dryland farmer with moderate 136mm GSR to August harvested a hybrid TT yielding 1.2t/ha next to an Open Pollinated (OP) yielding 0.8-0.9 t/ha side by side. His thoughts are now much more positive for hybrids.
National Variety Trails in 2017 and 2019 included dryland sites at Wunghu and Yarrawonga, and all the Triazine Tolerant (TT), Clearfield (CL) and Roundup Ready (RR) varieties being evaluated were hybrids.
Although hybrid canola cost is $25-30/kg you can sow 0.5kg less.
The sowing rate for the group dryland three hybrid crops and three OP crops was the same at only 1.8kg/ha.
Of the 11 irrigated layout crops, eight of them were hybrid. Sowing rates were similar at a low 2.5kg/hectare.
The group hybrid varieties used in 2019 and 2018 can be used for dryland or irrigation.
Following is what the group farmers used:
Dryland – P44Y90 CL (also 2018) early mid, InVigor T 4510 TT early mid, Diamond conventional (also 2018) early.
Irrigated layout – P 43Y92CL mid, 44Y27 RR (most popular) early mid (also 2018), Victory V5003 RR mid, P45Y93CL early, GT53 RR mid, Edimax CL late, Banker CL mid, Invigor 4510 TT early mid, DG 670 TT mid late, 45Y25 RR mid, and 44Y90CL early mid.
Sow date suggestion for 2020: Late maturity- late March to end April; Mid maturity - first week of April, but preferably last three weeks April; Early mid maturity - second week of April, preferably last two weeks April; early maturity - last week in April.
~ Contributed by Finley based agricultural consultant John Lacy.