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Wyaga farmers a step closer to drought-proofing properties

September 14, 2016


Jock and Gus McClymont, 'Aberdeen', Wyaga, grew Sugargraze forage for silage to supplement pastures.

The McClymont family at Wyaga near Goondiwindi are a step closer to drought-proofing their cropping and cattle properties after supplementing their pasture program with forage sorghum.

Gus McClymont, who farms with parents Col and Jenny and brother Jock, said depleted pasture levels in October last year prompted them to look at alternate feed sources.

“We run most of our stock on pasture but a dry winter left us with minimal ground cover, so we talked with our agronomist Paul Gardoll about what options we had,” he said.

Mr McClymont said they needed a tough, high yielding and high quality crop.

“We planted 180 hectares of Sugargraze forage in early October.  It looked like it was going to turn to dust around December, then it rained around New Year and bounced back.

“We ended up chopping 4000 tonnes in late-January and packing it into our bunkers for silage.  A yield of 22t/ha was a very pleasing result.

“The paddock was grazed after chopping which added to productivity.”

He said not only were the yields excellent, but a quality test proved it to be of a high feed value.

The family uses 3500ha ‘Aberdeen’ for cropping and 2000ha ‘Caratel’ for their small opportunity cattle operation.

Mr Gardoll, who works at MCA Goondiwindi, said he suggested a flexible variety that could grazed or cut for pit silage.

“We weren’t quite sure of the end use in October, so by them planting Sugargraze, they had the option of high quality grazing or silage.

“Forage sorghum is a very good option when natural pasture runs out or cattle prices are good and you require that extra feed quality.”

Mr Gardoll said for a tough season, the punt paid off.

“It was very hard early, but that burst of rain at the start of January really helped.

“They long fallowed it from the last wheat crop with 100mm of PAW (plant available moisture), which helped it survive.

“Depending on the situation and season, I suggest different options, but I think it’s a very good result.”