f A late decision to plant canola as a rotational option on the property of Fyffe and Megan Grieves, at Raywood, north of Bendigo in central Victoria, has paid dividends with an excellent start to the season.

Fyffe Grieves said the lead-up to sowing had been extremely dry and they had initially considered sowing vetch as a break crop but switched to canola quite late.

“We made the decision at the very last minute,” he said.  “We used to grow canola and wanted another rotational option.”

He acquired some Pioneer® hybrid 45T01 canola seed and planted it in the first week of May just prior to some excellent rainfall which helped the crop germinate.

Mr Grieves said it was the first time he had sown a hybrid canola and was impressed with its performance out of the ground.

“I couldn’t believe the way it came out of the ground,” he said.  “It was really good and built the canopy quickly.”

The canola paddock also contained an open pollinated canola variety in a side-by-side comparison and two months after planting the difference in the crops were evident.

After dry conditions during autumn in the lead-up to sowing, the seasonal conditions changed dramatically with excellent regular rainfall assisting the crop and providing valuable subsoil moisture.

Mr Grieves said the decision to grow canola instead of vetch was vindicated with the rainfall setting the crop up for a good yield.

“It is by far the best start we’ve ever had on this property.”

He said the triazine-tolerant 45T01 hybrid also provided the opportunity for weed control and they utilised Simazine and Atrazine at one kilogram per hectare.

“The main weed we were chasing is brome grass,” he said.  “It’s a shocker, that weed.”

With applications of triazine chemistry early in the piece and the exceptional vigour of 45T01 to help shade the soil, the weeds were controlled well across the paddock.

A soil test was taken prior to sowing which showed good stored nutrients and the crop received just 80 kilograms per hectare of DAP at planting and 100 kilograms per hectare of urea post-sowing.

The canola was direct-drilled into wheat stubble at a rate of 3.5 kilograms per hectare, with nine inch row spacings.

Mr Grieves said they had wanted to sow at 2.5 kilograms per hectare but couldn’t get the seeding equipment lower than 3.5 kilograms.

He said, with the germination and vigour of the crop, he would have no hesitation to cutting the rate to 2.5 kilograms per hectare in the future.