ROTATIONAL and agronomic benefits, including increased ryegrass control, are being predicted as growers plant the first paddocks of genetically-modified canola since SA's 16-year moratorium on GM crops ended last year.
With all mainland croppers - Kangaroo Island's GM ban remains - having the choice to utilise GM technology, more than 300 grower accreditations have been approved.
Tarlee's Tony Clarke dry sowed 145 hectares of Roundup Ready canola and said its main role within his cropping rotation would be to provide increased control of ryegrass - a weed which negatively impacts his yield potential.
Mr Clarke said GM canola would add another option to his existing ryegrass control measures, which include spray topping lentils and growing hay.
"This year it should work quite well," he said.
"I've sown two paddocks and one of them is quite hilly. We've done hay on it before, but it's not the easiest or safest to grow on because it's quite stony and a bit dangerous when carting bales.
"We haven't had an early rain this year either, so there's been no germination of ryegrass to get at least one kill so hopefully the canola will work well - when the ryegrass comes up, you can spray it up until flowering.
"The other paddock has had two years of hay and hopefully that will help us control the ryegrass there, because there was still quite a lot coming through in the second year."
Mr Clarke said many SA growers would be enthused to have access to the advantages of GM technology.
"History has shown we rebel against a lot of things to start with, then accept them," he said.
"The amount of testing on everything we grow is that accurate and thorough, there's no chemicals in the system anyway and there are a lot of systems in place to make sure everything's safe."
RELATED READING:GM-free status removed for all mainland SA
Eudunda grower Anthony Pfitzner, who also crops at Hill River near Farrell Flat and Cooke Plains, is sowing 125ha of Roundup Ready canola this season.
"It gives us options in weed control," he said.
"With Clearfield varieties, there is carryover issues and with Triazine varieties, there are chemical residue issues.
"We'll be careful with how we use it and in what situations we use it.
"It's (GM canola) not going to be for everyone and it's not a silver bullet in terms of weed control, but it's another tool in our toolbox to use."
VITERRA TO SEGREGATE NUMEROUS SILO SITES
GENETICALLY-MODIFIED canola will have dedicated segregations, and GM and non-GM canola will be received at separate receival sites during the 2020-21 harvest, according to preliminary segregation plans from SA's major grain handler Viterra.
Segregations for GM canola will be made available for growers at the Edillilie and Tumby Bay sites on the Eyre Peninsula, Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula, Owen on the Adelaide Plains, Port Pirie in the Upper North, and Bordertown and Coonalpyn in the South East.
In a statement, Viterra said the company was confident in its ability to handle, segregate, store and market both GM and non-GM crops and were expecting to receive deliveries of GM canola from SA growers this harvest.
It said receival sites could change if further grower feedback dictated so.
RELATED READING:GM technology uptake 'modest' in debut season
"We are well-positioned to meet the requirements of our end use customers and markets through our food safety and quality management expertise and processes, and are focused on delivering SA grain safely and efficiently to end use markets," the statement said.
"Our agile and flexible supply chain receives and stores multiple commodities and grades in separate segregations according to market requirements, which will include GM canola this harvest.
"We have selected the sites (for GM canola receivals) based on feedback from our grower customers, plus where we are able to best manage demand, segregations and elevation capacity."
GROWERS WAIT FOR DECENT BREAK
WHILE the wait for access to GM technology is over for SA growers, the wait for a season-defining break is ongoing.
There were patchy showers across the state this week, with Tarlee's Tony Clarke receiving 11 millimetres in total.
Mr Clarke had dry-sown most of his program after a dry summer and expected to be finished by the end of the week. His Mona Vale property received 6mm in January, 15mm in February, 23mm in March and only 13mm in April.
"Dry sowing is a gamble because you're relying on follow-up rains because it's in the ground and you can't take it out," he said.
"But sometimes it's annoying if you wait until it rains and then you have to go like heck.
"Dry sowing allows time for breakdowns as well."
RELATED READING:Dry start for SA seeding
Eudunda's Anthony Pfitzner said they'd had about 6mm at home on Monday, with 6mm falling on their Hill River property on Saturday and a further 5mm on Monday.
Mr Pfitzner said as well as sowing GM canola this season, they were putting in wheat, barley, conventional canola, oaten hay and faba beans.
"We're about a quarter of the way through our program and I'd like to be finished by the first week of June," he said.
On the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln led the weekly Bureau of Meteorology rain tallies to Tuesday with 13mm; Wharminda had 11mm, Mount Hope and Cummins 10mm, while Kimba missed out.
Clare (16mm), Redhill (15mm) and Hoyleton (13mm) all had reasonable falls in the Lower North, with Minlaton (15mm), Paskeville (13mm) and Port Vincent (13mm) topping the charts on the Yorke Peninsula.
The Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula received the most rain across the state in the past week, with notable tallies in Meadows (28mm), Finniss (22mm) and Lenswood (27mm).
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