September 19, 2011


Europe's new canola hybrid to revolutionise Australian farming



European new winter habit canola hybrid may transform farming areas of southern Victoria that receive high rainfalls.


The taurus hybrid, brought into Australia by Canola Breeders Western Australia, can be grown as a dual-purpose crop for grain and graze enterprises.


It can be sown as a fodder crop as early as September, grazed through to autumn before a long, cold period in winter triggers the reproductive stage of growth, resulting with an oilseed crop the following summer.


All up, the crop could grow for up to 15 months before it is harvested.


AGF Seeds principal Tim Brown said taurus was a very exciting development for southern mixed-farming systems.


"For guys with lamb and crop enterprises, this fits both systems very nicely," Brown said.


AGF Seeds, owned by Brown and David Toose, is one of a number of distributors selling taurus seed.


The company grew two hectares of the seed at its base at Smeaton, north of Creswick, and has about 1000ha of commercial crops sown in the Western District.


Brown said a trial plot at Smeaton was sown last November and grazed over summer as a fodder crop, producing about five tonnes/ha in dry matter.


He said the livestock were removed from the crop in early April and instead of spraying it out ready to sow a cereal, the canola was left growing.


As a winter canola variety, the crop would not flower until it went through a long, cold winter period.


Brown said one of the advantages of the taurus variety was that growers benefited from a summer fodder crop and a grain crop a year later with a single sowing, which reduced sowing costs.


Taurus is a conventional hybrid with no in-built herbicide traits, such as triazine tolerance or the Clearfield trait.


Brown said it should grow in regions where summer fodder crops were successful.


He said Western District farmers who had yet to finish sowing crops because of a wet season might be interested in sowing the variety in some paddocks.


A CBWA technical note said taurus had excellent early vigour and growth.

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