Flanker wheat ‘parallels’ Suntop in Parkes demo

November 10, 2015


Scott Macaulay is growing 4ha of Flanker wheat alongside Suntop to compare performance.

New wheat variety Flanker is establishing itself at Parkes this season, with a farmer demo showing promising signs.

Scott Macaulay, farm manager at family cropping and sheep operation Parkvale Pastoral Company, planted four hectares of Flanker alongside 45ha of retained Suntop seed on May 20 to gauge their performance in the main season window.

Mr Macaulay said while yield would not be known until the header goes in, he was impressed with the new variety from planting to maturity.

“When we harvest later this month we’ll know for sure, but they’ve been matching each other most of the year and looking to go over 4t/ha depending on screenings, test weights and the finish,” he said.

“I was impressed with Flanker’s ability to parallel itself with an established variety like Suntop.  We’ll grow more of it next year.”

Both crops received the same amount of fertiliser, chemical and in-crop rain of 250mm.

Mr Macaulay said his interest spiked after seeing Flanker out-yield Suntop in last year’s GRDC NVT at Goonumbla - the nearest trial site to Parkes.

He farms the 1300ha property with father Neil, running 1900 fine wool merino ewes and cropping 660ha - 260ha of wheat, 220ha of barley, 120ha of lupins and 60ha of triticale.

Mr Macaulay said along with barley, he relied on main season milling grade wheat to produce the bulk of the winter crop income.

“We like protein and quality in our wheats for the milling market, which is usually the nearby Manildra Group.  The last few years have been a bit tight, with screenings at 5-10 per cent, but our onsite storage gives us a few options.”

After harvest, they can store up to 2500t of grain in silos and use an independent broker to handle their grain sale.

“We like to check the protein and quality first then market in arrears, and the onsite silos improve our marketing options.”

The grower said long season wheat also had its place due to its dual-purpose function.

“We like the long season varieties in the sense of the graze and grain affect.  You aim to sow them in the early to mid April period, hopefully getting that grazing effect six weeks after sowing.  Then we can take them off for grain at harvest.”

He said their cropping and sheep setup helped buffer them against fluctuating commodity prices and gave them the flexibility to sell in the meat, wool and grain markets.

“The ratio can change depending on what the accrued meat protein, wool or grain markets are doing.  You’ve got the option of doing what you like.”