Short summers no barrier for PAC328May 8, 2020
Given the constraints of a very short summer growing season compared to the inland or coast, the Monaro district a round Cooma can still grow corn successfully.
One such grower is Luke Kimber from Dromore Station who usually grows corn for silage for the family dairy down the mountains at Bega.
When the Kimber’s bought the property about 10 years ago it was already laid out with 6 centre pivots (previous owners were growing vegetables) with water coming from the upper reaches of the Murrumbidgee river.
Today the Kimber’s grow mainly Lucerne for hay under the pivots but also 2 pivots in the summer are put down to corn. Due to the shorter season, quicker corns are grown to give some insurance against early frosts with planting not able to commence until November. This then leaves a maximum of 4 months frost free so corn with CRM maturities of 85-100 are usually selected to give some safety.
This last autumn the first frost appeared in mid-March with Luke’s corn still a couple of weeks off from the optimum chopping stage.
Like everywhere else last season was a very difficult & testing one with lack of water & useful rainfall. This meant the planting was delayed and the crop stalled resulting in a delayed maturity & rending it to early frost which is exactly what happened. We planted a 94 day corn and tried a bag of the new Pacific Seeds quicker variety PAC 328 (104 CRM).
Luke was more than impressed with the performance of PAC 328, commenting,
“Even though PAC 328 (104 CRM) is a few of days longer it was a much bigger plant and as a result produced more bulk. In a normal season I think it is still quick enough to get through before the early frosts. I would be rather keen to plant part of a pivot of it next season to give it a real good go,” Luke said.