Chinchilla sorghum benefits from 200mm
This grower switched to sorghum this summer and boy has it paid off.
WITH predictions of tariffs for the grains industry circulating last year and uncertainty as to how many pulses may be affected, Chinchilla grower Tim Fraser decided to make a summer crop switch from mung beans to sorghum.
With sorghum yet to be affected by the worries engulfing chickpea growers and a bumper crop in front of him, it’s a decision Mr Fraser doesn’t regret.
Mr Fraser along with his brother, Rob, and parents, Malcolm and Dinah, operate three properties totalling 760 hectares of grazing and 760 hectares of cropping land.
About 155 hectares of MR-Scorpio sorghum was planted in mid October on the irrigated property, Marlin Court, south of Chinchilla, and the same amount of MR-Buster and MR-Taurus dryland at Chances Plains, 30km away.
Marlin Court is reliant on CSG water and a dam storage for irrigation but at planting their CSG stocks were at about 130mg and Mr Fraser knew the crop wouldn’t be fully irrigated.
But in a fortunate twist from Mother Nature, the irrigated crop has received about 200mm of in crop rain and hardly needed watering.
While the dryland crop has missed out, Mr Fraser said both crops were planted into a full moisture profile with the irrigated crop planted at 70,000 seeds/ha.
“We are targeting 65,000 seeds/ha established and we reckon we are pretty close,” he said.
“(The dryland) is a bit lighter. We are targeting 50,000 seeds/ha.”
Mr Fraser said sorghum had been more attractive than pulses this summer with prices around $250/tonne, about $100 higher than last year.
He said traders he had spoken to expected the recent heat could also cause a price spike.
“We had mung beans last year with the pulses being good value,” he said.
“We have gone away from that this year. We sort of ran out of a bit of country for them and thought the pricing was going to come off and heard about the tariff coming in.”
Mr Fraser expects harvest to begin from mid to late February with the dryland crop possibly a bit earlier.
Adding to the positive season is the missing grub pressures seen in winter.
“We even ended up spraying our wheat (last winter) which is pretty much unheard of,” Mr Fraser said.