A TOUGH, high yielding wheat that can be sown earlier and deal with a dry start was what Dennis and Kathy Saunders wished for when they ordered 500 kilograms of InterGrain's RockStar to bulk up in the 2020 season on their Southern Brook farm.
RockStar certainly delivered, with the couple pleased with yields of 3.5 tonnes per hectare on their medium to light soils and 2.5t/ha on medium to gravel soils, after sowing at 60 kilograms a hectare on May 13.
These yields were welcome, particularly after the paddock experienced two shocking wind events after seeding in early June.
"RockStar's toughness showed when it stood up to a strong wind event just after emergence, regenerating quickly despite being smashed by wind and sand," Mr Saunders said.
"To help the crop along that was wind damaged, an additional 50 litres a hectare of UAN was applied three weeks after the wind event, this was on top of the 70 litres applied at three leaf stage and prior to the windstorm on June 17.
"The crop was burnt off down to yellow sand level and amazingly it recovered compounded by a fertiliser appetite, to regenerate and deliver a crop above our expectations."
The Saunders crop about half of their 1370ha to wheat, with Scepter being their main variety.
In 2021, however, RockStar will play a much bigger role as they will retain all of this year's harvested RockStar seed and intend sowing next year in late April, even if it's dry.
In 2020, RockStar thrived, despite receiving only 150 millimetres of growing season rainfall.
Ms Saunders said RockStar gives them an earlier break planting option and offers them greater yield potential than previous longer season wheat varieties that they've grown.
"We really need flexibility at sowing time here due to variable seasonal conditions and the range of challenging soil types across the farm," Ms Saunders said.
"Visually, the RockStar looked really different to the Scepter which was alongside it in the paddock throughout the season, this may have been because of RockStar's longer maturity and the straw left in the paddock was also a darker colour".
"RockStar looks like it'll perform and give us another variety to help spread our sowing windows and provide us with a more diversity in our system."
According to InterGrain wheat breeder Dan Mullan, growers have welcomed RockStar as an exceptionally high yielding variety which has consistently performed across different environments and sowing dates in InterGrain and NVT trials, highlighting yield stability.
RockStar offers a robust disease package, including good yellow spot (MRMS), stem (MR) and stripe rust (RMR - WA pathotype) resistance.