ALLORA grain producers Mal and Shiri Sinton certainly have something to smile about with their new variety of sunflowers set for bumper yields.
The Sintons farm 162 hectares west of Allora, on their mixed grain property, Fairview, as well as an additional 160ha of leased country nearby.
They planted a 20ha paddock of Nuseed Ausi Gold 62 oilseed sunflowers early in January this year, at a rate of between 15,000 and 18,000 seeds/ha.
Mr Sinton said the crop was pre-fertilised with 50kg/ha of Urea, as well as applying Starter at planting.
So far we are impressed. We'll have to wait until the harvester goes in to really see how good it is.
The family also planted a further 20ha of birdseed sunflowers, as they usually plant a combination of both birdseed and oilseed varieties each year.
Mrs Sinton said it was the first time they had grown this particular variety of sunflowers and they were very happy with the large heads and how well it stood up.
"It is pretty disease resistant also. I think the seed companies are trying to breed better varieties which are more resistant to drought, disease and weeds."
Mr Sinton said he expected the new variety to yield about 3t/ha, but wouldn't be surprised if it yielded even higher.
"We usually harvest sunflowers about four or five
months after planting, and usually within five weeks of flowering," he said.
"It's probably the best crop of sunflowers we've ever grown here.
"There's still a bit of way to go.
"But so far we are impressed.
"We'll have to wait until the harvester goes in to really see how good it is."
The Sintons grow a variety of crops on their Dalrymple Creek farm, these include traditional winter crops as well as small crops such as broccoli and onions.
"We grow the small crops in a bit of a rotation," Mr Stinton said.
"But it depends on the market and the season."
With a one kilometre frontage to Dalrymple Creek, the farm has been in the Sinton family for 100 years.
Mal's father, Bill, still helps out.
The farm has seen plenty of floods during that time, including just recently.
Mrs Sinton said she and her husband, Mal, had been at Fairview, since 1985.
They had received a lot of flood damage in recent months.
"We are currently in the process of cleaning and standing up fences which were all renewed recently," she said.
The bumper crop of sunflowers has received 150mm of rain since planting.
Mr Sinton said it could stand up to more general rain, but not flooding rain.
"We don't want a hail storm or a bird infestation at this stage, even though we allow the first two outside rows for the birds," he said.
"This crop was really an experiment which hopefully will pay off.
"We planted a dwarf variety of sunflowers in another paddock and it has a bit of mould, as it was planted earlier."
Selling most of his grain locally, Mr Sinton said sunflower prices were currently sitting at around $600/tonne, which he was happy with.
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