Tau­rus booms in tough sea­son

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY -

IN­CREASED un­pre­dictabil­ity in cli­mate and con­di­tions has been pin­pointed as the lead­ing rea­son sales of grain sorghum va­ri­ety MR-Tau­rus are ex­pected to sur­pass in­dus­try leader MR-Buster for the first time this sum­mer.

MR-Buster, re­leased by Pa­cific Seeds in 1991, has long been the big­gest selling hy­brid across the Aus­tralian grain sorghum grow­ing area and re­mains a con­sis­tent high per­former across the land­scape.

MR-Tau­rus was re­leased in 2014. Pa­cific Seeds sum­mer grains agron­o­mist Trevor Philp said MR-Buster was the back­bone of the Aus­tralian grain sorghum in­dus­try for a quar­ter of a cen­tury, but in­creased un­pre­dictabil­ity in rain­fall and tem­per­a­ture had seen sales of newer hy­brid MR-Tau­rus ex­pected to sur­pass MR-Buster for the first time.

“As things warm up and dry out and the weather be­comes in­creas­ingly vari­able, we’re see­ing a big­ger push now from farm­ers who want im­proved drought tol­er­ance and high yield – like MR-Tau­rus,” he said.

Mr Philp said the need to make sorghum hy­brids more re­silient and flex­i­ble was a driv­ing force be­hind in­creased in­no­va­tion in the Pa­cific Seeds range.

“Grow­ers ex­pect re­li­able per­for­mance from our hy­brids – but now we need re­li­able and adapt­able,” he said.

“While farm­ers still value a good, solid per­former, now they also want to max­imise yield when the go­ing’s good and en­ter a more de­fen­sive stance with a re­ally hardy hy­brid when it’s not.”

This change in grower needs has had a huge im­pact on in­no­va­tion at Pa­cific Seeds.

“It takes years for us to get a new hy­brid to mar­ket, so we’ve be­come in­creas­ingly ag­ile in how we de­velop germplasm and we’re look­ing a lot fur­ther ahead at chang­ing cli­mate pat­terns to plan for the fu­ture,” Mr Philp said.

“Our hy­brids have to be highly adapt­able and able to deal with big swings and fluc­tu­a­tions.”

De­spite com­pe­ti­tion from the new gen­er­a­tion of hy­brids, MR-Buster is ex­pected to be a favourite for years to come.

“MR-Buster re­mains an in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar hy­brid and I ex­pect it to re­main one of our big­gest sell­ers for a long time yet,” Mr Philp said.


HARDY: Trevor Philp with MR-Tau­rus.

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