Dig deep before making new season planting decisions

Dig deep before making new season planting decisions

September 14, 2020

Spring has sprung and with it talk of a possible La Nińa weather pattern and improved rainfall prospects. Whilst good rainfall earlier this year have made us all much more optimistic, we should not forget the terribly dry conditions of recent years and the ongoing impact of this, particularly with regards to current soil moisture profiles.

In reviewing the Bureau of Meteorology’s three-year Rainfall Decile data for 2017- 2020, it is clear almost all of Australia’s sorghum growing region have received rainfall over the period classified as either very much below average or the lowest on record.

With much of this region also lacking stubble cover for several years, water infiltration has also unfortunately been reduced making any rainfall events less effective than usual in building soil moisture. Keeping this in mind, it is important to ensure you have an accurate idea of your starting soil water, prior to making your decision to plant.

Recent soil coring results

Over the past weeks, the Pacific Seeds Technical Development Team has been in fields across the Darling Downs region performing pre-season soil coring tests on our trial sites. As expected, profiles have varied, a direct reflection of the challenging weather events over the last three years. It is worth noting the total water use for a high yielding grain sorghum crop can range from 500-600mm.

The table above shows examples of variation of soil water across a series of Darling Downs locations sampled in early September 2020 by the Pacific Seeds Technical Development Team.

Planting to the soil conditions

If planting into conditions which are less than ideal, it is important a hybrid is selected which can deliver regardless of the season.

Pacific Seeds’ MR-Bazley has been a key choice for Australia’s grain sorghum producers for many years. Its performance over the last three incredibly challenging years has only gone to further cement its reputation as the toughest product in the market. MR-Bazley’s medium quick maturity, leading pre and post flowering stress tolerance and grain size, provides growers with reliability in the face of uncertainty. Combine this with its ability to respond to improved conditions through the season and you have a hybrid ideally suited to all situations.

MR-Bazley; on right demonstrating superior head emergence under moisture stress
MR-Bazley under irrigation

More information

For more information about MR-Bazley or other Pacific Seeds products as well as crop management advice, please contact your local Pacific Seeds Territory Manager or a Technical Development Team member.

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