[genet-news] BUSINESS & SEEDS: Roundup Ready canola performs well in dry Western Australia
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TITLE: ROUNDUP READY CANOLA PERFORMS WELL IN DRY
SOURCE: Farm Weekly, Australia
SUMMARY: "THERE'S no denying Wongan Hills farmer Michael Shields, Glenvar, took a risk when he planted 8000 hectares of genetically modified canola at Bodallin in late May, accounting for the State's largest GM canola crop. But even with only 125mm-165mm of rain received from April until now, Mr Shields is confident he will break even on the investment and is already gearing up for next year's program."
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ROUNDUP READY CANOLA PERFORMS WELL IN DRY
THERE'S no denying Wongan Hills farmer Michael Shields, Glenvar, took a risk when he planted 8000 hectares of genetically modified (GM) canola at Bodallin in late May, accounting for the State's largest GM canola crop.
But even with only 125mm-165mm of rain received from April until now, Mr Shields is confident he will break even on the investment and is already gearing up for next year's program.
Mr Shields, who is based at Wongan Hills and Perth, has sown a total of 8000ha of Roundup Ready canola and 9500ha of Wyalkatchem and Magenta wheat on the leased Bodallin property, owned by Allan Caratti.
He has also planted 4200ha of Roundup Ready canola at his Wongan Hills property and 900ha at his Kojonup property.
Mr Shields has been checking the progress of his crops every two weeks and although it will be at least three weeks before harvest commences out there, he predicted the canola would yield about 0.5t/ha, with 0.4t/ha needed in order to break even on the investment.
"All the pods that are there are filling well and I'm amazed how well it's held on considering the season," Mr Shields said.
"I think it will go very close to breaking even.
"The biggest disappointment has been the wheat, I think that will only yield about 0.5t/ha, the same as the canola, and I am a bit worried about the quality.
"That's another beauty about the canola, there are no quality-issues or worries about screening because the seed can be any size."
Mr Shields said he had been amazed by the biomass growth in the canola, especially compared to the wheat.
He said the growth per millimetre of rain received was staggering.
That's not a situation isolated to Bodallin though, as Mr Shields said it was also the case in the Roundup Ready canola planted at his Wongan Hills farm.
"A lot of the GM canola is yielding twice as much as the non-GM canola," he said.
"It's greener for longer too, there are still some very green patches out at Bodallin."
Mr Shields said despite the tough season and resulting low yield, he believed GM canola was an excellent choice for the eastern Wheatbelt.
He said it allowed them to clean up paddocks and was a good seasonal tool, with not a lot of yield difference showing between the early and later-sown canola crops.
The Bodallin property was quite bad for radish, but Mr Shields said the Roundup had worked really well, resulting in 95pc radish control in the canola, as well as solid ryegrass control.
"It's incredible," he said.
"This was a bad radish farm but we've managed to achieve excellent radish control."
The key to success with the variety seemed to be cultivating under the seed, and Mr Shields said the DBS bars had really shown their strength in that regard.
"I think GM canola is an absolute winner in the eastern Wheatbelt," he said.
"It will take peoples' confidence before they grow it, but I think it has a lot of potential for that area.
"There's big acres out there and it gives you the ability to crop those acres quickly.
"It also responds to deep tillage.
"We've got some bars out there that we sowed with that didn't cultivate very deeply under the seed and those crops will yield 30-40 per cent less than DBS bars that cultivated nine inches under the seed."
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