With good rains, this may be the year that Silverstar and Goldmark prove themselves commercially. Meanwhile, some growers are reporting plenty of potential.
Andrew Roberts, who grew both varieties on red basalt soils near Cootamundra, believes the new varieties should be valuable if a wet harvest resulted in Janz suffering on a wide scale from black tip. Both varieties, however, would face strong competition from new NSW public varieties Diamondbird and a second cultivar not yet named.
"In the case of Goldmark and Silverstar we need a good harvest year to try them out. We have seen enough trial results to know they have potential," Mr Roberts said.
Last season, Bruce Spinks grew Silverstar near Balranald, where it yielded well under difficult conditions. He had 20 mm rain on 7 May, 12 mm on 23 May, no rain (and severe frosting) June-July, and finally, 124 mm August-October. Mr Spinks planted on 17 May, applying Teprozine Zinc and 80 kg/ha DAP. Weed control was by pre-plant application of Logran.
His crop yielded approximately 4.1 t/ha in a paddock (self-mulching silty clay) that had been spelled to conserve moisture. The paddock is an old lake bed and Mr Spinks was surprised that his Silverstar crop didn't produce a high level of screenings (screenings were 5-8 per cent).
"The indications are that Silverstar should do well," Mr Spinks said. "Most farmers in this area grow for the domestic milling market and they have been requiring a quick-maturing hard wheat with good disease resistance."
Ian Buffon grew 200 hectares of Silverstar at Mildura, on mallee soil (sandy red loam). It was "a pretty dry year, but it was on a good fallow". Mr Buffon took out weeds the previous June with Roundup, then used Logran pre-sowing. He applied 100 kg/ha DAP.
In side-by-side competition with a similar paddock of Condor, Silverstar yielded 0.84 tonnes higher per hectare. He found the variety grew well everywhere, and also found a low level of screenings.
Andrew Weidemann grew Goldmark seed at Rupanyup near Horsham. The crop was sown with 80 kg/ha DAP and 100 kg/ha urea. Pre-emergent weed control was by spraying trifluralin and Avadex, and Mr Weidemann used Ally plus Lve MCPA and Lontrol post-emergence.
He found that Goldmark suited his soil (self-mulching grey clays, pH 8.0-8.4) very well and was superior to Ouyen and Trident in both yield and protein. Mr Weidemann has decided to "throw out" other varieties and concentrate on Goldmark and Rosella.
Darlington Point grower Nick Schuster sold 200 tonnes of Silverstar last year. The results were good, and this year he is growing 200 hectares for grain.
"It's looking pretty good," Mr Schuster said. "This will be a make or break year for Silverstar. Last year there were some disappointing results because the rain was late."
But under irrigation Silverstar yielded well for Mr Schuster — 7 t/ha in one paddock. Grown in the same paddock as Janz, it yielded 10 per cent better.
Corowa district seed grower Graeme Hicks and Revell Seeds marketing manager Kelvin Margetts, Dimboola, inspect a seed crop of the new Revell shorter-season hard wheat, Silverstar, growing on Mr Hicks' property, 'Buccleuch Villa', Lowesdale.