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Ag Show offers clarity for summer plant

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article image TM Bill Smith, agronomist Trevor Philp, David Loughnan, 'Jackson', Jondaryan, TM Tom Ferguson and TM Jason McIntosh
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Pacific Seeds territory manager Bill Smith was on hand at the annual Heritage Bank Ag Show in Toowoomba to discuss the issues facing his growers on the central and southern Darling Downs. The Heritage Bank Ag Show is one of Queensland’s largest agricultural and machinery field days. 

The recent Heritage Bank Ag Show provided a forum for growers across the state to clarify their agronomic plans and discuss current issues with cropping professionals as they finish off winter crops and plan for summer. While Queensland’s cropping hubs vary in terms of climate, soils and planting windows, there was consensus on prioritising rain and summer feed plans.

According to Mr Smith, at the moment on the Downs, the winter wheat crops are looking for about 50mm of rain to finish strong. The rain would also pave the way for a summer crop, as October would be a perfect window to plant grain sorghum, corn and forage sorghum. Interest in grain sorghum is particularly high, being a low risk crop that can provide a solid return on investment.

Another major talking point at the show was the impact that the change from a wet to dry season will have on the livestock and dairy industries. He advised livestock businesses to consider planting quality forage, which then converts to round bale hay or silage to fill the feed gaps. He explained that a milking operation could not be profitable if it had to buy in all of its feed, so producing fodder at home was preferable.

Mr Smith said he has been advising beef producers to look for forage sorghum with high sugar content in the stem, which adds to an animal’s live weight. He also advised dairies to focus on digestibility for increased milk production.

Further west to Dalby and surrounds, territory manager Tom Ferguson said that his growers at the Ag Show were also talking about needing a downpour. While the majority of growers in the Dalby area would welcome 50-75mm of rain to finish the winter crop off and get a summer plant underway, those around Roma felt 130-200mm rain was required.

In some cases, farmers in his area have already started their plant. Mr Ferguson adds that his primary focus in the western parts of Queensland was advising growers on which grain sorghum and forage sorghum varieties to grow, with the need for forage crops becoming increasingly important as feed levels rapidly reduce. 

Moving to the southeast part of Queensland, territory manager Jason McIntosh said his growers were really interested in corn, grain and forage sorghum, and biofumigant products.

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