BARLEY made a comeback on Hukerari farm, Quairading, this season as Craig Anderson was keen to use the Clearfield barley system within his rotation to broaden his weed control options.
After a six-year break, Mr Anderson planted 250 hectares of barley, bulking up the new quick-mid Clearfield barley, Commodus CL, across 25ha, with the remaining hectares sown to Spartacus CL.
With the good start to the season, Mr Anderson was able to get a good knockdown on the paddock and followed up early post-emergence with Intervix at 500 millilitres, targeting brome and barley grasses.
"We've noticed that brome and barley grass have been an increasing issue over the past couple of seasons due to the later breaks and we needed to introduce another chemical group option into the system to improve early-season control," Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson and his family run a mixed cropping and sheep enterprise.
In addition to barley, this season they sowed 1000ha of wheat, 200ha of canola and 250ha of lupins, oats, along with running 1600 Merino ewes.
In choosing barley varieties this season, Mr Anderson opted for Spartacus CL, whilst bulking-up Commodus CL, with plans to sow his entire barley area to Commodus CL next season.
The variety's early vigour and weed competitive abilities were of particular interest having grown Scope CL previously.
Mr Anderson said the Commodus was sown on May 6 at 20 kilograms per hectare and he applied 500ml of Intervix in early July at the five-leaf stage.
"It's done a good job of cleaning up the brome and barley grass across the paddock this season, although I expect it will take us a couple of years to get on top of the weed seed banks," he said.
"The Commodus looked great from the start, it was very quick to get going, with its vigorous growth habit and ability to shade the inter-row, while at the end of the season, it was reasonably tall and this made harvest a lot easier."
Considering the low seeding rate, Mr Anderson was very happy when he put the header into it and it averaged three tonnes per hectare.
"The season was kind to us and in some areas of the paddock, the heads were 18 grains high and we were really happy with the grain size and our screenings were low," he said.
"We have retained all seed harvested and intend to plant our entire barley program to Commodus next year after a good result this season.
"The combination of its yield, the Clearfield technology and the vigorous plant type makes Commodus a really good fit for our system.
According to InterGrain barley breeder David Moody, Commodus CL has been bred as a high yielding option for growers with lighter sandy soils in low to medium rainfall areas.
"Commodus CL is another high-yielding option for use within the Clearfield barley rotation, although it offers an alternative plant type to Spartacus CL and Maximus CL," Mr Moody said.
"Commodus CL has a solid disease resistance package, the same strong physical grain quality characteristics of Compass and good early vigour which will assist early crop establishment particularly on lighter soils.
"Grower interest has been very good this season due to its agronomic similarity to Compass and demand significantly exceeded seed supplies in its first season and seed sales for next season are also very high."
Commodus CL has been accepted into the Barley Australia malt accreditation program with the earliest potential malt accreditation in March 2023.
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