Russell Bennie, Elborn, Cecil Plains is hoping for rain with his late plant Sorghum crop currently in below average condition.

Sorghum plant’s bleak outlook

After 115 millimetres of rain across his property during December, Cecil Plains farmer Russell Bennie planted a late Sorghum crop.

After 115 millimetres of rain across his property during December, Cecil Plains farmer Russell Bennie planted a late Sorghum crop.

The Heritage Seeds HGS-114 Sorghum was sown during the first week of January by Mr Bennie, who was hoping more rain would eventuate during the month.

“It was all about taking a chance and seeing if we got more Summer rain,” he said.

The Sorghum crop was planted rather deep on a half-full moisture profile at a depth of 3 to 4 inches with the hope of taking advantage of soil moisture from December’s rainfall event.

“Overall, the crop was really only planted on the hope of more rain,” Mr Bennie said.

There was also pressure on Mr Bennie to plant with the Summer sowing window closing rapidly across the Darling Downs region.

After three weeks in the ground, the crop has emerged across the paddock but is currently in dire need of 25 millimetres of rain or more according to Mr Bennie.

A total of 50 hectares were planted with the Heritage Seeds HGS-114 Sorghum crop.

“Having a half-full moisture profile after December’s rain gave the crop a chance to get up and ongoing, but now it really needs some follow-up rain,” Mr Bennie said.

“I have to say the current Sorghum crop is generally looking below average.”

Mr Bennie add if their property doesn’t get rain in the next three weeks the crop is going to die-off.

It doesn’t look the best for Mr Bennie’s Sorghum crop with the Bureau of Meteorology only forecasting 40 to 50 per cent chance of 1 to 2 millimetre rainfall across the Darling Downs region over the next seven days.

The Bennie family's Sorghum crop was planted at a depth of 3 to 4 inches.

“Overall, it’s not a great outlook for the crop at present but it was only planted on a chance of more rain, so it was always a gamble,” Mr Bennie said.

If the Sorghum crop does fail, Mr Bennie will spray-it-out in order to prepare for a winter crop.

With the summer planting window now over across the region, Mr Bennie said his property will need at least 200 millimetres of rain between now and April to enable a good winter crop planting.

“Overall, I’m not too surprised the current Sorghum crop is struggling because I really was just taking a chance on receiving more rainfall,” he said.

Current Sorghum daily contract prices (delivered to the Darling Downs) softened slightly this week at around $275/mt, according to Agvantage Commodities.

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