"THRILLED WITH it" is Jim O'Brien's assessment of Yitpi after five years' experience of the variety.
Mr O'Brien, wife Kitty and son Peter farm 'Dennismoyne' near Speed, 40 km south of Ouyen in Victoria's northern Mallee, but the property is better known as the 'Speed Monitoring Farm' for its role in the GRDC's Mallee Monitor Farm project.
The Mallee Monitor Farm project (MMF) compared the impact of intensive 1: 1 extension with that conducted through groups and, according to Department of Primary Industries agronomist at Swan Hill, Rob Sonogan, was instrumental in introducing new technology into Mallee farming systems.
"We saw a match between Frame's CCN and boron tolerance and the needs of the northern Mallee," Mr Sonogan said. "MMF was the vehicle to get the variety into the system."
Compared to Frame
Mr O'Brien agrees. "Being a 'monitor farm' made us look at every aspect of our operations and say 'Can we do this better?' Frame was the big breakthrough for us, we had gone from Condor and Halberd to trying Millewa and Meering, but Frame, with its boron tolerance and cereal cyst nematode (CCN) resistance, was streets in front. Now, in Yitpi we get all the benefits of Frame plus Australian Hard (AH) quality and price," Mr O'Brien said.
The O'Briens have found Yitpi to be a high protein achiever easily meeting the AH receival standard and, in the exceptional 2001 season, it also out yielded Frame.
Brothers Brett and Nathan Wegener and father Colin farm at Callington on the eastern edge of the Adelaide Hills. The Wegeners crop most of 'Colrae's' 1,200 ha of arable country to wheat, barley, peas, lupins and canola and run 900 merino ewes on their non-arable hilly country.
"Frame was big in its day, but we dropped it three years ago, and Yitpi will make up 80 per cent of our wheat this year," said Brett Wegener.
AH quality is one reason, but, says Mr Wegener, "It's consistent. It was up with the best in 2001 when our top crops went 4 t/ha, and was our highest-yielding variety last year at 1.6 t/ha on the 8.5 inches (212 mm) of growing season rainfall."
The Wegeners have also found Yitpi to achieve higher protein than Frame in the same paddock - an added insurance to making AH grade.
The tight rotations on 'Colrae' mean that wheat sometimes has to follow wheat, but according to Brett Wegener, it is always done with care. "We never sow Yitpi wheat-on-wheat because of its susceptibility to yellow spot."
When wheat has to be sown onto wheat stubble, the Wegeners have found Krichauff a good alternative with its good foliar disease resistance (however, Krichauff has now been identified as susceptible to leaf rust - Ed) and high yield. "We grow it for yield and sell most locally for poultry feed, so higher screenings or low protein are not that important," says Mr Wegener.
In WA Yitpi has been upgraded from APW to AH for 2003-04 increasing its attractiveness to growers. Esperance grower-group the South-East Premium Wheatgrowers Association (SEPWA) have trialed the variety for several years.
Tolerates boron soils and resistance to sprouting in WA
SEPWA member Steve Tilbrook first grew the variety in 2000: "It was a drought, but it toughed it out and our 2001 crop went 4 t/ha and was as good or better than Camm,"
Mr Tilbrook and daughter Sarah jointly run the 3,200 ha family property 'Ronland' at Mt Madden, north of Ravensthorpe in WA's south-eastern wheatbelt. They were attracted to Yitpi because of its boron tolerance and resistance to sprouting.
"The old good heavy country my grandfather cleared is boron toxic and SA varieties like Halberd and Stiletto have always done well here," Mr Tilbrook said.
Good sprouting tolerance has been another feature of SA varieties and something Mr Tilbrook feels has been deficient in many varieties from WA. "Brookton let us down badly," Mr Tilbrook said. "Camm is okay and Yitpi looks just as good."
A big plus is Yitpi's resistance to stripe rust, as WA growers come to terms with the discovery and rapid spread of the disease in 2002, but stem rust susceptibility may be its Achilles heel. "I wouldn't be growing it down on the coast," Mr Tilbrook said, but "I know there's been a big demand for seed by growers looking for a stripe rust insurance and who couldn't get hold of Wyalkatchem".
In summary - if you want a no-fuss, consistent-quality wheat, with a good spectrum of leaf and root disease resistance, consider Yitpi.
Yitpi is protected under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 and a levy of $1.10 per tonne is payable on all grain delivered. Proceeds of the levy are shared by the breeder and the GRDC and are substantially returned to growers through re-investment in research. Seed of Yitpi is available only through AWB Seeds.
Program 1 Contact: Mr Jim O'Brien 03 50824282 Mr Rob Sonogan 03 5036 4800 Mr Brett Wegner, Callington 08 8538 5012 Mr Steve Tilbrook, Mt Madden 08 9838 0065