The grower: grazing canola revitalises system
GroundCover™ Issue: 125 Nov - Dec | Author: Alistair Lawson
Angus Lyne was seriously considering dropping canola from his cropping rotation because of issues associated with slug control and slow vigour in cold May and June conditions.
The Tasmanian mixed farmer, who farms ‘Riccarton’ at Campbell Town with his wife, Lauren, parents Crosby and Poppy, as well as his brother Sam and Sam’s wife Chloe, was spending considerable money on slug bait, and enduring a lot of stress waiting for vulnerable seedlings to reach a safe growth stage.
However, a trip to southern Victoria in 2013 to inspect dual-purpose winter canola crops with his agronomist, Terry Horan, imbued his attitude towards growing canola with a new lease of life.
“Winter canola is almost like a brand-new crop for Tasmania,” Angus says. “This will almost revitalise the canola industry in the state.”
This year Angus sowed 75 hectares of Hyola® 970 canola – his third winter canola crop – under irrigation on 3 February. It was then grazed by 1000 crossbred lambs from mid-April until the third week of June.
“We grazed it in blocks and rotated to ensure the dry matter levels didn’t drop under 1200 kilograms per hectare,” Angus says. “Our dry matter yields were between four tonnes per hectare and 5t/ha.
“In terms of grazing value that was fantastic.”
In his three years growing the crop, Angus has found nutrition post-lockup to be an important factor and this season he applied 250kg/ha of sulfate of ammonia and two applications of 100kg/ha of urea.
“The highest yield we’ve had for winter canola is 3.2t/ha, but the last two seasons have been drought years and with good subsoil moisture this season we are aiming a bit higher and targeting over 4t/ha,” he says.
Angus says winter canola is a great fit into his family’s livestock and cropping enterprises.
“It takes the risk out of growing canola. We can sow it early and get the crop established before slugs and other pests become an issue in April, which is when we would traditionally sow a spring canola.
“For that reason it has huge potential down here in Tasmania.
“We are getting a bulk of feed at the end of autumn for finishing lambs and it fits well in the cropping rotation.”
More information:Angus Lyne,
0429 811 195,