By Melissa Blewitt
McDonald Bros Farming had a convincing gross margins triumph with their Bonito Canola in the 2021 Condobolin PAH and I Association Crop of the Year Competition.
The winners were announced at the Don Brown Memorial Merino Ewe Competition presentation evening at the Condobolin Sports Club on Tuesday, 23 February.
McDonald Bros Farming’s gross margin was $1,168.63 per hectare, beating their closest competitor by $341.30 per hectare. The crop yielded 2.88 tonnes per hectare and had a 43 per cent oil content. McDonald Bros Farming received $560.55 per tonne (grain prices as of 20 November 2020).
Darren and Allison Miles placed second, with their Gregory Wheat crop, which yielded 4.1 tonne per hectare. It was graded H2 and they received $245 per tonne. Their gross margin per hectare was $827.33.
JH and KM Coupland, produced a 4.2 tonne per hectare Mustang Wheat crop that resulted in a gross margin per hectare of $817.99 to secure third place. The wheat was graded as AUH2 and they got $243.00 per tonne when it was sold.
AJ and C Gross, took home fourth place, with a 4.1 tonne per hectare crop of Spitfire Wheat. Their gross margin per hectare was $802.62 and the grade AUH2. They received a price of $243.00 per tonne when sold.
DG and NJ Manwaring produced a crop of Spitfire Wheat that yielded 4.27 tonnes to the hectare to claim fifth spot. Their gross margin was $801.61 and the wheat grade AH2. The wheat was sold for $245.00 per tonne.
Condobolin PAH and I Association Show President Jeff Kirk, Graham McDonald and former Condobolin District Agronomist, Paul Lukins toured the Competition entries in October 2020.
Mauri ANZ donated $750 for the major prize, and other cash prizes were donated by other longstanding sponsors, AG’n’VET Services, Lachlan Agencies, Owens Rural Services and Equipment and Service. The Condobolin Post Office is also a long-term supporter of the event.
Mr Lukins offered the following speculative comments to the entrants about the outcomes of their competition crops.
“Subsoil moisture accumulated in 2020 to a good depth during the February-August period and was probably available to the crops during the dry August-October period. Crop root development is likely to have been deeper in the soil profile than usual: for example, fine roots of wheat can go as deep as 2m, so long as moisture is already present in the soil at that depth, but it’s rare here,” he stated.
“The uniformity of yields indicates that moisture stress wasn’t as bad as it looked like it could be for grain fill. Slow-finishing crops appeared not to be jeopardised by the dry October, and nor was the oil content of the canola.
“The cool finish to the season probably maximised water use efficiency, converting large amounts of nutrients stored in the crop plants into grain with good oil and protein content, as well as top yields.
“The closeness of the gross margins of the cereal crops indicated growers balanced their variable costs really well against potential yields in their various contexts, maximising the genetic potential of different crops and cultivars.
“Keep up the good management!” he concluded.
In his final assessment, Mr McDonald said all crops showed signs of moisture upon viewing as generally only about 25 milllimetres of rain had fallen between 15 August until 24 October.
“Remarkably, similar wheat yields and little difference in price of protein made for very close gross margins,” he said.
Condobolin PAH and I Association Secretary Carol-Ann Malouf said she hoped after a promising start to the 2021 season, there would be a return of a popular initiative associated with the event this year.
“Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm,” she said.
“It is to be hoped that the promise thus far this year brings you all another bumper season. We hope too that there may be sufficient interest later this year to bring back the Crop Of The Year coach tour.”