Picton Reuse Farm still going strong on BMR forageMay 22, 2020
Six years on from introducing brown mid rib (BMR) summer forage sorghum to the Picton Reuse Farm in the Sydney basin, manager Will Davies has trialled a newer, quicker growing variety.
Last season he introduced BMR Rocket to his summer forage program in addition to his first choice, BMR Octane.
Summer forages have proven to be a very important part of utilising the nutrient enriched effluent water at the Picton farm. Located 90km south of Sydney, the 322ha farm irrigates crops with treated effluent using its 40ha of fixed pivot irrigation and 50ha of solid set (fixed sprinkler) irrigation.
Two pivots were planted to forage sorghum last summer. One pivot was planted to 16ha of BMR Octane on December 14 and the second was planted to 23ha of BMR Rocket on December 20.
Mr Davies said the farm is usually planted to oats and ryegrass in winter so he can’t sow much earlier.
“We can’t plant much earlier with our tight program of oats/rye grass in the winter.
“By the time we get the last cut off, it’s usually late November and we like to have the oats/ryegrass replanted by early May.
“So we’re only chasing two good cuts off the forage sorghum and then putting it into large square wrapped bales.”
BMR products are put into 8x3x3 square bales and sold mainly to dairy farmers around the basin. The first cut took place in the middle of February and the second cut was at the end of April. BMR Octane cut slightly better than BMR Rocket on the first cut – though it was planted a week earlier. However, BMR Rocket bounced away much quicker after the first cut, producing more than BMR Octane on the second cut. Also, Mr Davies noticed the BMR Rocket tillered more after the first cut.
“With the delayed planting even further this last season, the heatwave conditions at germination and the very wet February-March period, we were behind with our production compared to last year, with 9.56 tonnes of dry matter per hectare versus 5.76t/ha DM this year.
“Also, as a result of the wet, we didn’t get a chance to top dress with urea after the first cut because the pivots were not trafficable, but it did receive 100 kg/ha of solid fertiliser N24 P1 K23.
“Considering the testing season, we are still happy with the overall result.
“I just like the BMR gene making it a bit softer material and therefore a bit more palatable as opposed to other forage sorghums and it does the job for me.
“I think BMR Rocket has a lot to offer as well, particularly if we get the opportunity to plant earlier, and I think bumping up the planting rate from 16kg/ha to 20kg/ha has made a difference in the fineness of the material.”