Short­age for sorghum seed

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Demand Soars -

THE 2018-19 grain sorghum plant has the po­ten­tial to be one of the largest in re­cent times due to fac­tors in­clud­ing high com­mod­ity prices and wide­spread fal­low ground fol­low­ing the dry win­ter.

Due to rain across Cen­tral Queens­land, the Dar­ling Downs and north­ern NSW there has been unprecedented de­mand for plant­ing seed across the grain sorghum grow­ing re­gion, with many ru­ral re­sellers buy­ing stock in an­tic­i­pa­tion of wide­spread plant­ing.

Ma­jor breeder and whole­saler of hy­brid grain sorghum seed, Pa­cific Seeds said that de­spite hav­ing above- av­er­age pro­duc­tion and sup­plies many hy­brids are now in sold out, with ru­ral re­tail­ers now tak­ing de­liv­ery of their stock.

Pa­cific Seeds man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Barry Cro­ker said growers seek­ing seed should speak with their ru­ral re­tail­ers about seed avail­abil­ity as plant­ing has not yet started in many ar­eas.

“Plant­ings to date have been lim­ited and many agents have pur­chased and taken de­liv­ery of seed in an­tic­i­pa­tion of plant­ing rain and farmer or­ders, so we rec­om­mend you con­tact your ru­ral re­tailer about their sup­plies of sum­mer seed,” Mr Cro­ker said.

With the sorghum seed sup­ply ex­pected to be tight, Pa­cific Seeds sum­mer grain agron­o­mist Trevor Philp warned growers to make sure con­di­tions were right for plant­ing be­fore putting seed in the ground.

“Seed qual­ity is ex­cel­lent this year and we re­ally want growers to make sure they get the most from the 2018-19 sea­son,” Mr Philp said.

“With a small break in the weather after such a long pe­riod of dry, the temp­ta­tion is al­ways there to get a crop in the ground.

“How­ever, given the ex­pected amount of ground go­ing to sorghum this sum­mer growers need to be sure they do not over-es­ti­mate soil mois­ture and get a re­duced crop es­tab­lish­ment as there will not be seed avail­able of their hy­brid of choice for a re­plant down the track.

“We’d en­cour­age growers to keep in close con­tact with their agron­o­mist over the plant­ing pe­riod.”

Mr Cro­ker said the vol­ume of de­mand for seed over early Oc­to­ber had been un­usual for this time of year.

“The quan­tity of or­der­ing prior to rain is unprecedented in our ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“Very lim­ited win­ter sow­ings and high com­mod­ity prices are some of the key driv­ers for the level of de­mand.”

As the ma­jor sup­plier of grain sorghum hy­brid seed in Aus­tralia, Pa­cific Seeds rou­tinely pro­duces more seed than is re­quired by the mar­ket, but this year, de­spite an in­crease in pro­duc­tion of key hy­brids, de­mand has out­stripped sup­ply.

“Over the past five sum­mers we have pro­duced more seed than sales, but this year de­mand for grain sorghum seed has been huge fol­low­ing such a dry win­ter,” he said.

The lead time for hy­brid seed to be put into bags and ready for farm­ers to plant can be one to two years even for ex­ist­ing prod­ucts and us­ing con­tra sea­son pro­duc­tion in the Ord ir­ri­ga­tion area of Western Aus­tralia.

“The seed pro­duc­tion crops for this sum­mer’s grain sorghum hy­brids be­gan in Oc­to­ber 2017,” Mr Cro­ker said.

“There is a one to two-year lead time to pro­duc­ing hy­brid plant­ing seed and de­spite our best ef­forts, our sup­ply is based on con­di­tions and fore­casts at key de­ci­sion points.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

MOIS­TURE WARN­ING: Pa­cific Seeds sum­mer grain agron­o­mist Trevor Philp.

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