On The Ground: Nuseed Diamond in Victoria

Grower stories from Rob McRae, Wallup and Chris Bartlett, Pimpinio.

Canola growers are seeing the first signs of a bright new success story in conventional hybrid canola.

Nuseed Diamond produced stunning trial results across three states in the National Variety Trials (NVT) last year and those growers who tested a bag or two as part of their 2014 crop have also been impressed.

The early maturity hybrid conventional canola variety will be available to growers throughout Australia from this season.

Rob Christie, Nuseed Sales Manager for Victoria, said Diamond was ideal for canola growers striving for optimum yields.

“Diamond is an early-maturing conventional hybrid canola variety that was developed to replace AV Garnet,” he said.

“It has the potential to lift conventional canola yields to new levels.”

At 31 NVT sites across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia between 2012 and 2014, Diamond averaged 18% higher yield than Garnet.

“Given an 18% yield increase, switching to Diamond could put growers ahead by as much as $120/ha, taking into account the cost of seed, a sowing rate of 3 kg/ha and canola at $450/t delivered,” said Mr Christie.

In South Australia, the new canola variety was 30% higher yielding than Garnet across nine NVT sites in 2014, with a mean yield of 1.7 t/ha for all varieties.

Diamond also out yielded Garnet by 31% in New South Wales last year across five NVT sites where the average yield was 2 t/ha.

In Victoria, where tough growing conditions meant a low average yield of only 1.09 t/ha, Diamond was still 25% higher yielding than Garnet in the National Variety Trials.

It was certainly a tough year for Wallup grower, Rob McRae, and his son Alexander, who grew 260 hectares of canola on long fallow and tried a small area of Nuseed Diamond.

It was their first year of growing hybrid canola, but the season was not on their side.

“The Diamond matured two weeks earlier than the other variety and it yielded just as well at about 1.3 t/ha,” he said.

“We had some frost damage, which probably knocked 10% off the yield too.”

Rainfall was very low, with just 200 mm for the year and no rainfall beyond July.

“We were happy with the way Diamond looked and performed, so we’ll be growing it again in 2015,” said Mr McRae.

Chris Bartlett from Pimpinio near Horsham also grew 7 hectares of Nuseed Diamond last year.

He crops 2,000 hectares with his brother, Dale, in an area the Bartlett family settled in the 1870s, growing wheat, barley, lentils, canola, peas and faba beans in a minimum till system.

They generally grow canola on fallow country, using a range of varieties including conventional, Clearfield® and triazine tolerant canola types.

He was interested in growing Diamond because of its potential as a hybrid and its good results in the NVTs compared with Garnet.

The Bartletts planted the small Diamond crop in late April along with a larger area of Garnet.

“The Diamond jumped out of the ground and had plenty of vigour,” he said. “It cabbaged well and covered the ground to compete with the weeds and by mid-July it was flowering. We could probably have planted it a bit later.”

The canola crops were direct headed in December and Diamond achieved a solid yield of 1.66 t/ha. The oil content was lower than expected, potentially due to frost damage.

However, Garnet also performed well for the Bartletts this season, yielding 1.85 t/ha.

The yield difference hasn’t deterred the Bartletts, as they plan to grow a larger crop of Diamond this year.

“We see a lot of crops through our contract harvesting work and the hybrids always do a lot better if you get rain,” said Mr Bartlett.

In December, they had their first big rain (15 mm) on the farm since April and are looking forward to a better 2015.

Diamond is the first variety of many high performing hybrids Nuseed plans to release as part of its canola development program.

Development work is carried out at the company’s state-of-the-art innovation centre in Horsham.

“We are focused on producing high quality hybrid varieties which deliver value at field level and beyond,” said Mr Christie.

“Diamond comes to growers quality tested, it has good blackleg resistance and a competitive oil level.”

For more information on Nuseed Diamond canola, contact your local Nuseed Regional Sales Manager or visit the canola product page.

Chris Bartlett from Pimpinio near Horsham grew seven hectares of Nuseed Diamond last year, achieving a solid yield of 1.66 t/ha.

Chris Bartlett from Pimpinio near Horsham grew seven hectares of Nuseed Diamond last year, achieving a solid yield of 1.66 t/ha.