Tall canola casts shadow

Tall canola casts shadow

Agribusiness
Yathroo grower Carl (left) and father Andrea in the TT Bonito crop to be harvested this week.

Yathroo grower Carl (left) and father Andrea in the TT Bonito crop to be harvested this week.

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AN obvious dividing line across a canola paddock has Yathroo farmer Carl Moltoni (left), inspecting seed in that paddock with his father Andrea, excited.

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AN obvious dividing line across a canola paddock has Yathroo farmer Carl Moltoni (left), inspecting seed in that paddock with his father Andrea, excited.

"Can you see the line, I never noticed that before?" Carl asked when Farm Weekly visited Scenic Park last week as he and Andrea, 88, prepared to put the header into their second paddock of TT Bonito canola.

In bright afternoon sunshine the "line" looked like a faint motorbike wheel track straight across the centre of the paddock.

It was actually a shadow cast by taller canola - approaching chest high in places - on the north-west side of the dividing line, onto waist-high canola on the south-east side of the line.

Why the excitement?

Carl had used a Basis seeding fertiliser treatment designed to activate microbes in the soil and improve nutrient uptake on the half of the paddock with the taller canola.

He estimates his personal trail owes him about $30 a hectare - he also used the fertiliser treatment on half his 900ha Calingiri, Zen and Mace wheat crop, half of his 250ha Boudin and La Trobe barley crop and on half his 250ha of lupins.

Carl had not noticed a difference harvesting the first 40ha canola paddock, but conceded he was not looking for it.

"I was just happy with the overall result," Carl said.

"I've only delivered about 100 tonnes so far, we've only just started and still got 310ha of canola to go.

"But I estimate so far our yield is 1.7-1.8 tonnes to the hectare when we normally do about 1.3 and our oil is 47.5 to 48 per cent when it's normally 45-46pc.

"The seed is bigger too this year."

He will harvest the halves separately to get an idea of the difference and deliver them in separate loads to assess the quality difference.

Andrea, who moved to Australia from Italy, aged 22 and has farmed the 1400ha Scenic Park property since 1964, said this was the best season he had ever seen.

"I can remember one other that started just the same, but it didn't carry on wet until late like this one," he said.

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