The McLeod family of 'Thornleigh' at Wallendbeen are NSW wheat-growing champions

With southern NSW and State 2019 awards, the McLeod family, Malcolm and Julia, Scott and Diana, with Claudia, 15, Estee, 5, Sacha, 9, and Lily, 12.
With southern NSW and State 2019 awards, the McLeod family, Malcolm and Julia, Scott and Diana, with Claudia, 15, Estee, 5, Sacha, 9, and Lily, 12.

WALLENDBEEN is again at the forefront of the state, with the champion wheat crop of 2019 grown by the McLeod family, their third win in 21 years.

The award was made Friday night, January 10 at an awards dinner at Club Dubbo for the Agricultural Societies Council/ Suncorp Bank Dryland Field Wheat Competition.

It's argued Wallendbeen is premier NSW wheat growing area, having won the ASC championship possibly more times than any other district.

But for Malcolm and Diana McLeod and their son Scott and daughter-in-law Julia and four grandchildren, the family operation is devoted to their cropping enterprise as much as their self-replacing Merino sheep enterprise run on a 25 to 30 per cent cropping to 70pc to 75pc sheep ratio.

The big woolcutting Merinos were of Uardry blood for 50 years and then Wanganella with the flock average growing 19- to 20-micron wool and cutting an average six kilograms.

Scott McLeod said the rich red loamy basalt soils hold water and are behind the success of cropping on their Thornleigh property where the champion 51 hectares of Condo wheat was grown.

The success of the crop was a miracle to Mr McLeod who said the past three Springs had failed.

"We had some summer rain from December to March of 214 mm with in-crop falls totaling 181mm, the most in May of 54mm."

After a Roundup Ultra spray in December '18 and follow-up on May 15, with a mix of Roundup at 1.3l/ha, Logran at 35g/ha, Sakura at 118g/ha and Hammer at 35ml/ha the crop was direct-drilled at 68kg/ha of seed with 120kg/ha of MAP on 23cm spacings on May 18.

A pass of urea at 100kg/ha was made on August 9.

Regional finals judge Paul Parker, Young, estimated a yield of 5.4t/ha while the whole farm yield averaged 4.6t/ha, Mr McLeod said.

"The previous year we grew a 2.2t/ha canola crop, a 6.1t/ha wheat crop the year before while in 2016 canola yielded 2.5t/ha after a pasture phase," Scott McLeod said.

"I enjoy the cropping, but I also enjoy the sheep.

"It's a well-balanced operation."