THE need for rapid and steady improvements in yield and profitability are driving the demand for hybrids in canola and Eyre Peninsula cropper Luke Moroney has been impressed with the vigour of short-statured, herbicide-tolerant Pioneer hybrid 45Y82 (CL). “In the first year, I was very impressed with the technology. It was very quick out of the ground compared to a neighbouring block of Triazine-tolerant canola,” he said. Luke grows 380 hectares of canola as well as wheat, barley and lupins on his family’s 1500ha farm at Brimpton Lake, north of Cummins. He had traditionally grown TT varieties but decided to look at Clearfield hybrids after neighbouring farmers and local farmer research groups experienced widespread success with them. “I was also keen to increase the canola plantings to take advantage of good seasonal conditions and the good prices on offer,” he said. Luke planted 45Y82 (CL) on May 5 at 3 kilograms a hectare into a paddock which had grown lupins on one section and barley on another the previous year. “In making the decisions on plantings, we look at what weeds we have in the paddock that we need to control and what other herbicide options are used,” he said. Generally, a bad ryegrass paddock is destined for TT canola, while CL canola is used in cleaner paddocks where higher yields from the hybrids can be achieved. “Canola grown on the lupin stubble has definitely performed better and flowered well over a six-week period, with the average from the paddock at about 2 tonnes/ha last season, which is up on the 1.8t/ha yields we were getting from the TT canola,” Luke said. High oil content was achieved with a good fertiliser regime and a mild end to the season helped keep the oil percentage up in the high 40s, with protein levels between 16 per cent and 18pc.” Planting canola after lupins has proven a good disease and weed break in addition to enabling increased yields, which have been brought about by the extra available nitrogen. “Pioneer hybrid 45Y82 (CL) has given us a better, more selective option of controlling weeds such as ryegrass and other broadleafs.” A typical rotation on the property is canola, two crops of wheat or barley and then back to canola. The property receives a 390-millimetre annual rainfall, but the past two years have been particularly good, with above-average falls recorded. “We have also been implementing no-till practices for the past 8-9 years which has increased the amount of water and organic matter in the soil and decreased erosion,” Luke said. Last season, Roundup and Treflan were used before seeding and the Clearfield herbicide Intervix and a grass-selective herbicide were also applied at the four-leaf stage of the crop. “The Intervix herbicide did a particularly good job in controlling the weeds which was evident in a patch of canola that was missed with the boomspray. Weeds in this area were quite large and prevalent compared to the majority of the paddock which had been treated and was very clean,” Luke said. He says he will be increasing future plantings of CL canola because of the strong performance of the herbicide over marshmallow weed.