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‘We want a crop that’ll make good on its promise’, says Clermont grower

August 31, 2016


P&K Mifsud Dryland Farms grower Luke Mifsud and worker Mal Walls in a crop of MR-Bazley at 'Wandina', Clermont.

Central Queensland grower Peter Mifsud says it’s better to grow a sorghum variety that will stand up in tough seasons than to grow a crop with high yield potential that falls over before harvest.

Mr Mifsud said due to the area’s erratic summer rainfall and no irrigation, he needed to structure the cropping program carefully.

“We farm in a 630mm rainfall zone, but just last year we received 306mm, so we can’t afford to be complacent,” he said.

Mr Mifsud farms 4000 hectares across properties ‘Spokane’ and ‘Wandina’ near Clermont with wife Kim and sons Andrew and Luke, operating as P&K Mifsud Dryland Farms.

Two-thirds of the Mifsuds’ cropping program is planted to summer crops and one-third is sown to winter crops.

Sorghum and wheat are the mainstay crops but opportunity crops such as sunflower, corn, cotton, chickpeas and mungbeans and utilised.

Mr Mifsud, a long-term advocate of MR-Buster for its adaptability, decided to introduce MR-Bazley two seasons ago for the tougher times.

“We still grow Buster, but as the industry moves towards breeding geography-specific crops, we are trying those too.

“We want a crop that’ll make good on its promise.”

Last season was a good test.

“2015-16 was a pretty marginal season but we still saw top end yields of four tonnes per hectare, trailing off to 3t/ha average.

“Buster out-yields the competition consistently, and last season was no exception, but we have decided to keep MR-Bazley on because it has a better chance of hanging on.”

Planting in December, they applied 15kg/ha of MAP and 4kg/ha of urea on the row, with 32 units of Big N in gas form 500mm away from the row.  The crop was harvested in May.