ST GEORGE district canola producer Bob Baker grew his first crop on Karee in 1983 sown into the heavy grey clay soils of south-west Queensland.
Droughts and the VAM issue forced him out of canol a for a few seasons but he has embraced improved technologies since resuming sowings three years ago.
"The current 62-hectare crop is Pac Seeds Surpass 400 (blackleg resistance rating 9) which I sowed at 3 kg/ha in 30 cm rows into zero-tilled ground from wheat two years ago. Although we had just 15 mm to sow on, it's had two good falls since- 65 mm and 55 mm." Despite a very dry finish the crop yielded around 1 t/ha.
Mr Baker doesn't retain seed for his next crop because he's an avid fan of hybrid varieties - although he can't always secure them. "I never keep seed because I've either harvested a hybrid variety or expect to get more hybrid seed, so why retain open pollinated stuff," he said.
"I think the crop has great potential in this region. I find my wheat crop is as good following canola as it is after chickpea, and canola gives you the opportunity to control some grassy weeds cheaply," he said.
On the subject of harvesting Mr Baker reckons it's the crop's biggest 'black mark' but again he says the more even flowering and ripening of the hybrid varieties minimise this problem while their extra vigour at emergence is another bonus.
The only drawback is the current 300-400 per cent purchase price premium for hybrid canola seed over open pollinated types, he says.
Contact: Mr Bob Baker 07 4625 4113