Grain re­search yields re­sults

Gatton Star - - LIFE INTO RURAL -

SORGHUM yield has long been king for grow­ers and now re­search is in­ves­ti­gat­ing how a range of man­age­ment op­tions from early sow­ing to plant pop­u­la­tion and row spac­ing im­pact on pro­duc­tiv­ity across di­verse north­ern grow­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

This trial work is part of a Grains Re­search and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in­vest­ment into tac­ti­cal sorghum agron­omy.

The GRDC has more than $7.5 mil­lion worth of in­vest­ments into sorghum spread across six pri­mary projects.

Sum­mer grains agron­o­mist Trevor Philp, from Pa­cific Seeds, said im­prov­ing yield un­der­pinned his re­search, but en­sur­ing crop re­li­a­bil­ity in in­creas­ingly vari­able en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions was a fo­cus.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions are chal­leng­ing us now and are pre­dicted to do so in­creas­ingly in the fu­ture, so we need to look at what we can do to main­tain yield and this in­cludes look­ing at is­sues, such as, stress tol­er­ance and grain qual­ity,” Mr Philp said.

His re­search is in its sec­ond year, com­par­ing 100cm, 75cm and 50cm row spac­ings in terms of weed con­trol, and fal­low ef­fi­ciency in the fol­low­ing crop as a re­sult of in­creased stub­ble cover.

“It is early in this re­search and we’ve had some tough fin­ishes to the sea­son, but gen­er­ally the crops looked fan­tas­tic all the way through to flow­er­ing,” he said.

“We saw no yield im­pacts from the dif­fer­ent row spac­ings un­til we got to ar­eas that his­tor­i­cally get un­der three tonnes a hectare. In those mar­ginal ar­eas where grow­ers would nor­mally go with a wide row or a skip row, the 50cm row spac­ing per­formed poorly.”

The GRDC has ex­tended the sorghum agron­omy pro­gram for five years.

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