PriceRay Price has an important checklist for canola on his northern NSW farm – good yield potential, moisture efficiency and disease management.

Ray, who farms with his wife Nikki at North Star, says he achieved those goals in 2015 thanks to Pioneer® brand 44Y89 hybrid canola.

“I was after a variety with good yield and oil potential that would get the job done, but not waste moisture, and we thought 44Y89 would do that, plus be good for direct harvesting,” he explains.

The 115-hectare program of 44Y89 was sown under good conditions on the 27th April into ground that had been rotated through sorghum and double-cropped chickpeas before the canola planting.

“We sowed at 2 kg/ha using a Boss single disc planter, and also applied 60 kg/ha of Starter Z and 90 units of Big N all in one pass.

“We had a full moisture profile and actually had a shower of rain after planting so it came up perfectly, with emergence of about 30 plants per square metre,” he says.

The in-crop spraying program included weed control with Intervix at 500ml/ha and Select at 400ml/ha, but no control of aphids or grubs were required.

Perhaps the major challenge the 44Y89 faced was no in-crop rain after 50mm on the 27th July, although the good moisture profile was enough to see it through.

“We direct-headed the crop on the 20th October and ended up with a yield of 2.5 t/ha and 42 per cent oil, which is the best result we’ve had with canola.

“Most importantly, we also grow durum wheat, which is pretty susceptible to crown rot, but our rotation of sorghum, chickpeas and canola has allowed us to cut down on the disease, allowing the durum to do really well.

“I’ll keep using the 44Y89, although I’ll be interested in looking at the new varieties Pioneer release in the future,” he concludes.