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Pillar sorghum crop yields 8.4t per hectare
PASPALEY Pastoral’s flagship 18,000-hectare property has reported one of its best summer cropping seasons in recent memory.
Agronomist and cropping manager Andrew McFadyen, of Kurrajong Park at Coolah, New South Wales, said the backbone crop sorghum produced some of the best results he had seen.
“It wasn’t a brilliant season in rainfall terms, but we managed to grow handy dryland crops due to timely in-crop rainfall and smart paddock preparations,” he said. “We planted 35 hectares of Superdan 2 forage in October because it’s tried and proven in this area for hay and we were shoring up supplementary feed for weaner cattle.
“The first cut was in early January and the second was in March, with both cuts having a high yield. The later frosts also gave us an extra six weeks’ grazing, so we were able to graze bulls on the regrowth until May.
“The 1665ha of grain sorghum again proved a pillar crop in the rotation, especially on the long fallow, with top end yields of 8.4t/ha for MR-Taurus, while MR-Buster was just behind it.”
Kurrajong Park features 12,500ha of hills and undulating valleys for sheltered grazing for cattle and sheep, and 5500ha of broadacre plains of deep black soils ideal for summer and winter cropping.
Mr McFadyen said sheep and cattle were generally grass-fed on temperate pastures and subtropical grasses, but were also supplementary fed on grazing oats, dual-purpose wheat and forage sorghum.
“We target 20,000 tonnes of grain per year consisting of summer and winter cereals, oilseeds and pulses, which offers flexibility and diversity in the cropping rotation.
“You want diversity in the cropping rotation, so over the years we’ve grown crops like wheat, canola, barley, oats, sorghum, chickpeas, corn and mung beans. Not all of them have stayed on in the program, because you have to factor in moisture, prices, paddock rotation and so on.
“We will be keeping sorghum in the rotation for sure due to the yield, standability and versatility of the crop, and add in other crops when the need arises.”
PROUD FARMER: Paspaley Pastoral agronomist and cropping manager Andrew McFadyen.