Late sown sorghum crops in Morawa, Western Australia

Site details

Sown: 30th January 2001
Rainfall:
DateRain (mm)
17th Jan 20016
20th Jan 200190
12th Feb 200124
13th Feb 20016
28th Feb 200116

Fertiliser:
120kg/ha DAP + 120kg/ha Urea 120L/ha Urea Ammonium Nitrate (Flexi-N) on some areas).

Paddock:
It was sown onto wheat subble grown in 2000. The paddock was therefore not in fallow and there would have been very little, if any, stored soil moisture in the profile until the January rains.

Photo's were taken on 5th April 2001 (9 weeks after sowing).

Description:

For those who do not know Morawa, click here to see a map of Western Australia.

Morawa is on the edge of the cropping area with pastoral country and desert to the east. Annual rainfall is around 325mm, with around 240mm falling during the winter growing season. Summer rainfall occurs, but only occasionally. Temperatures are regularly over 35℃ in summer, with many days over 40℃.

Summer crops are not grown in the region, but are being trialled. The photo's below are from a large trial done with WANTFA (Western Austrlian No-Till Farmers Association) and Derek Chisholm, a No-till farmer in Morawa.

In January 2001, summer rain fell and the trials was quickly sown as an opportunity to see how sorghum would perform. I did not expect the results seen due to the sorghum not having enough time to put a head up, let alone produce grain. The results are amazing and show that this assumption was not correct.

Plenty of stubble cover, no till history, good nutrition and plenty of heat shows us that even in January it is not too late to sow an opportunistic crop of sorghum. I imagine sunflowers would also be an option in this scenario. Grain sorghum and sunflowers are not an option in areas that are not as hot, like in the more southern areas of the Western Australian cropping area. They would not mature in time before winter sets in.

However the crops below sure beat spraying summer weeds that have no chance of making money or producing as much valuable stock feed.

The grain sorghum will be harvested soon and I will include the yield results as soon as they are known, as well as some biomass measurements of the forage sorghum.


Derek Chisholm in his amazing forage sorghum (variety is Jumbo). Only 9 weeks since planting!


Derek Chisholm in "New Nugget" grain sorghum. Only 9 weeks old (the sorghum ).


View across trial area of the grain sorghum (variety "New Nugget").


A view down a 'skip-row' of the grain sorghum (variety "New Nugget"). Lovely residue!