28 January 2022

Greenethorpe farmers get nod for top crop plus props for running a good shop

| Edwina Mason
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Suncorp Bank Championship Dryland Field Wheat Competition

It was a night of celebration in Dubbo for all NSW winners of the Suncorp Bank Championship Dryland Field Wheat Competition. Photo: Supplied.

What a year for wheat 2021 was, especially for Greenethorpe wheat growers Rob and Mandy Taylor who have been confirmed as state champions in a prestigious annual wheat competition.

Taking out the farming excellence award as well, Rob, a mixed farmer, is quite embarrassed by the attention.

“It’s a little bit humbling – we certainly weren’t expecting it, it was a bit of a shock.” he said. “Normally the state award goes to one of the high rainfall areas like around Wallendbeen or Quirindi.

Rob and Mandy Taylor

A more restrained photo of Rob and Mandy Taylor of Greenethorpe holding the trophies they received for their winning wheat crop and the award for farming excellence. Photo: Rob Taylor.

“We’re pretty proud nonetheless.”

That’s what 900mm of rain will do for a farmer used to an average annual 600mm in the northern part of the NSW South West Slopes.

“I mean we got 250 mm for November – 10 inches of rain,” Rob said.

“We copped it like everyone else did – but our country doesn’t flood – even through two creeks run through it, we didn’t flood.”

What also worked in their favour was what Rob described as “a long cool European finish” to the crop where mild spring temperatures maximised grain fill.

That combined with a well-drained deeper red soil, northerly aspect, the right levels of nitrogen and fungicide all lined up perfectly when the judges arrived at “Glenalla” early November.

READ ALSO Southerly grain haul likely to be a bumper for all

Run by AgShows NSW (the peak body for 192 shows), the Suncorp Bank Championship Dryland Field Wheat Competition is judged across four regions ahead of the state final.

To make the state finals, the top five crops in four regions are identified and then compared to determine the state winner.

Harvest in full swing

Harvest in full swing at the Taylor’s property “Glenalla” which sits between Grenfell and Greenethorpe in the NSW South West Slopes. Photo: Rob Taylor.

The Taylor farm topped the central region with an enormous pointscore of 246 for their 8.7 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), ahead of the highly awarded Merrivale Partnership in Gunnedah (8.5t/ha, 242pts) and Illinois Farms in Cowra (8.5t/ha, 241pts).

The central region covers Alectown, Binnaway, Canowindra, Carcoar, Coolah, Coonabarabran, Cowra, Cudal, Cumnock, Dubbo, Dunedoo, Eugowra, Forbes, Grenfell, Gulgong, Gunnedah, Manildra, Mendooran, Merriwa, Molong, Parkes, Premer, Quandialla, Quirindi, Spring Ridge, Tambar Springs, Tamworth, Wellington, Werris Creek, Wirrinya, Woodstock and Yeoval.

Rob Taylor said their usual average was around 4t/ha and while the harvested grain in their top crop this year didn’t quite reach the expected yield – thanks to its post-judging late drenching – there was parity among all his crop yields, some of which actually exceeded the 8.7 tonnes per hectare.

AgShows NSW president Tim Capp said the central and southern regions were hard to beat in 2021 thanks to the favourable seasonal conditions and the skill of those producers to make the most of their conditions

Wallendbeen featured in the heady mix of award contenders with the Mickan Bros’ 8.3t/ha scoring 236 ahead of S Zweck and J Ellis of Henty (8.5t/ha, 234pts) and Stockinbingal Pastoral Co in Wallendbeen (8.2t/ha, 233pts) in the southern region.

Garry Mickan entered the competition this year as a tribute to his late brother who had also won a coveted state wheat competition.

Taylor family

It wasn’t all about the wheat for the Taylor family last year with the canola also producing record yields. Here Rob Taylor is pictured knee deep in the grain with son Fletcher. Photo: Rob Taylor.

The southern region covers Albury, Ariah Park, Boorowa, Coolamon, Cootamundra, Culcairn, Harden, Henty, Holbrook, Howlong, Illabo, Junee, Puccawan, Temora, The Rock, Wagga Wagga, Walbundrie, Wallendbeen and Young.

In western NSW, Karen and Paul Kaveney of Bribbaree placed third in the region behind Hillston’s Sheldon and Rebecca Dalton’s crop with Redwin Farming in Barmedman taking second place.

The western region covers Ardlethan, Bogan Gate, Barellan, Barmedman, Beckom, Berrigan, Bribbaree, Burcher, Condobolin, Caragabal, Corowa, Deniliquin, Finley, Ganmain, Griffith, Hillston, Lake Cargelligo, Leeton, Lockhart, Merriwagga, Narrandera, Oaklands, Peak Hill, Rand, Rankin Springs, Trundle, Tullamore, Tocumwal, Top Woodlands, West Wyalong, Weethalle, Ungarie and Urana.

READ ALSO Meet the grain growers who refused to let Cunningar die

The Browning Family in Narromine topped the northern NSW competition, ahead of Simon and Rachel Cant of Warren in second place, and Clinton and Di Uebergang of Warialda.

The region covers Baradine, Barraba, Bellata, Bingara, Boggabri, Bourke, Burren Junction, Coonamble, Crooble, Croppa Creek, Delungra, Garah, Gilgandra, Gulargambone, Gurley, Inverell, Manilla, Moree, Mungindi, Narrabri, Narromine, North Star, Nyngan, Tottenham, Walgett, Warialda, Warren, and Wee Waa.

“While the wheat competition is typically a yield-based competition, if a grower has made the best of the local season, spraying and feeding the crop to grow an optimal plant base it should perform well in the competition,” Mr Capp said.

The Taylors had their moment in the spotlight at the recent state final dinner in Dubbo where they were also handed the farming excellence award.

It was a proud moment for them and their family, including Rob’s dad “who still potters about the farm”, but they know they’re not alone in their efforts.

“There were hundreds of good crops last year and there are plenty of people who are just as worthy of taking that out,” Rob said.

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