10t/ha sorghum crop brings relief after scrapping cotton

10t/ha sorghum crop brings relief after scrapping cotton

June 23, 2020

With an extremely poor outlook for cotton last summer, it came as a relief to the Coventry family near Texas when their alternative crop of sorghum produced 10t/ha at harvest in April.

Richard Coventry and sons Ian and Scott of ‘Coomooroo’, Bonshaw, usually grow 80 hectares of cotton every summer, but with minimal irrigation water, they switched to the more water efficient crop.

“We moved to sorghum because of the water use efficiency and the attractive prices,” Ian Coventry said.

Mr Coventry said on the advice of their independent agronomist Patrick Jones, they planted 38.5ha of MR-Buster on December 1.

“We’ve grown a few different varieties over the years, but MR-Buster is always a safe bet.”

The crop was planted at 55,000 seeds/ha using a Monosem disc opener on 36inch spacings into a paddock sown to cotton the previous summer and fallowed in winter 2019.

The growers applied 150kg/ha of urea and 100kg/ha of potassium.

Coomooroo is set up for dryland and irrigated cropping, but on this occasion, some available bore water helped water up the crop via two centre pivots.

“We do a small amount of dryland sorghum, but the bores had enough to get the crop going.

“We received 29mm of rain in December, 62mm in January, and got lucky with 185mm falling in February.  March was back down to 67mm.”

Mr Coventry said the crop looked excellent all season and they began harvesting in early April.

“We put 380 tonnes of grain in the silos on farm, so a 9.9t/ha average is a very pleasing result.”

He said they will use most of the grain to fatten their steers.

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