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Sorghum comes through for Darling Downs croppers

September 13, 2016


Advanta Seeds territory manager Bill Smith with David and James Bailey, 'Denby', Brookstead.

 Like many Australian farmers in 2016, Brookstead’s David Bailey embraced the International Year of the Pulse, but the grower said he was still relying heavily on grain crops like sorghum, corn and wheat.

“Farming is all about opportunity.  We take the gamble on prices and weather forecasts - sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said.

He planted some ground to mungbeans in summer and wheat and chickpeas in winter, but principally remained dedicated to his mainstay crops – a decision that paid off.

With 280mm of growing season rainfall (GSR), 110 units/ha nitrogen and 40kg/ha Starter Z, his March-harvested MR-Apollo sorghum hit nine tonnes per hectare (7.5t/ha average).

That was followed by MR-Taurus on 8.357t/ha (7.1t/ha average) and MR-Buster on 8.282t/ha (7t/ha average).

Mr Bailey runs cropping operation Woodlands Partnership with wife Carmen, son James and parents Ross and Coral. 

They have four properties spanning 2400 hectares: Denby, Isham, Jamah and Woodlands.

He entered the October-planted MR-Buster in the local Pittsworth Show dryland sorghum category and scored first place.

“We’ve been growing Buster sorghum here for many years, because it’s a good all-rounder that produces excellent yields and excellent harvestability.

“Seventy-percent of the program is Buster, but we like to spread the risk a bit.  We added Taurus in a couple of seasons ago and the newest addition was Apollo last season.

“We only put in two bags of Apollo to give it a go, but it performed very well.  It’ll be good to put more in on a broader scale and on different soil types this summer.”

He said the mix offered the business excellent yields, low screenings, large heavy grain, good standability and ease of harvest, both for dryland and irrigated grain sorghum production.

Heading into a new season, the operation recently invested in lateral move irrigation equipment and additional grain storage.

“We added a fourth lateral irrigator about 18 months ago and recently erected an additional 2300 tonne of grain storage.

“Dams and water allocations provide us with security when things get dry [mainly summer crops] and the extra grain storage provides us with broader marketing options.”