MR-Bazley sorghum delivers for Yallaroi growers
September 12, 2019
Sorghum is well-known for its water use efficiency but a father-and-son at Yallaroi were still not prepared for the yield their crop managed to produce through the dry 2018-19 summer.
Andrew and Zack Thompson’s 150ha crop of MR-Bazley sorghum yielded over three tonnes per hectare on just 110mm of in-crop rainfall from mid-September to mid-March.
“The crop averaged about 3.1t/ha, which was a great result considering we’re usually up at 4t/ha and the season was very tough,” Zack Thompson said.
“It was a nice reddish colour and had a good grain size, so it’s gone off to the chicken and pig operations all over the country now.”
Mr Thompson said due to the undesirable season outlook prior to seeding, their best chance was to plant MR-Bazley, known for its standability, and put it on wider row spacing.
“We went with 60-inch rows and aimed for a plant population of eight plants per metre – ending up with six plants per metre.
“Using Bazley on wider rows with good population will still bring good yields when times are tougher.
“It’s got a good wide-angle root system to assist in fossicking for water in that wider inter row space.
“You could see the root system through the cracks in the soil.”
The paddock that the MR-Bazley was planted to was fallow barley stubble from the 2017 winter crop season and was strip-tilled in early February 2018, with 150kg/ha of urea applied in the process. Starter Z was then applied at 60kg/ha at-plant.
Mr Thompson said they had 700ha of sorghum planted over the 2018-19 season but the MR-Bazley handled the dry the best.
The family, who have been farming the property for 46 years, also plant 600ha of barley, 300ha of wheat and 300ha of chickpeas in winter.
Looking ahead to the 2019-20 season, he said the plan is to sow another 150ha of MR-Bazley regardless of the outlook.