Crop planted for trial to compare maize and grain sorghum

The crop is now in the ground as part of a trial program running in Kerang this summer, that aims to compare maize and grain sorghum as fodder for silage, thanks to a collaboration between Murray Dairy and the Irrigated Cropping Council.

The trial, which has been made possible through funding from Dairy Australia, will look to evaluate grain sorghum for silage as a potential alternative to maize in the Murray Dairy region.

Murray Dairy Program Development Manager Farm Systems, Shane Byrne said, “Low water allocations and high temporary water prices have seen an increase in farm system change across the region. As a result, there is increased interest in alternative crops such as maize and grain sorghum, as farmers strive to achieve higher returns for each megalitre of water applied.

“The 3 sorghum varieties being assessed in our trial include White Grain Sorghum, Red Grain Sorghum, and a Forage Sorghum. These varieties will be compared with both long and medium season maize varieties.

“This trial is looking to investigate the suitability of grain sorghum grown for whole crop silage due to its higher tolerance to water stress than maize. Grain sorghum may have a place in northern Victoria under limited water conditions.

“Trials on grain sorghum grown at Gatton in Queensland under semi irrigation with two cuts have shown promising nutritional quality and yields comparable to maize. These trials have demonstrated that sorghum can achieve yields in excess of 30 tonne DM/ha with starch levels around 30%.

“Grain sorghums are different to the forage sorghums that have been traditionally grown in the Murray Dairy region for grazing and conserving as hay and silage,” Shane said.

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