Victoria Hill grower one of the first to trial ground-breaking new sorghum

Victoria Hill farmers Ted Shooter (right) and his father Ray are among the first to test 'igrowth' sorghum. Image courtesy of Pacific Seeds

Victoria Hill grower Ted Shooter is one of the first in the world to trial ground-breaking new grain sorghum herbicide tolerance technology ‘igrowth’.

Mr Shooter tested the new Pacific Seeds imidazolinone-tolerant grain sorghum line featuring its proprietary igrowth trait prior to its debut at a series of field days across the summer cropping region in February 2018.

The first igrowth hybrid, Sentinel IG, featured in his program and will be commercially available this season.

Mr Shooter farms 670 hectares across six blocks under the Bellevue banner with his parents Ray and Olive, wife Kerri and children Kate, Harry and Bridie.

He planted 7ha of Sentinel IG alongside his 103ha commercial crop of MR-Buster.

“The total 110ha of sorghum yielded about 5t/ha at harvest in early March 2018, with the new hybrid slightly out yielding MR-Buster,” he said.

“Harvest was extremely busy for us, so we didn’t get a chance to conduct a rigorous yield data test, but we did get an idea of what it is capable of.

“I harvested the Buster and placed a mark on the header bin. Then we harvested the strip of Sentinel and the grain in the header bin was above that mark.”

As a third-generation farmer, Mr Shooter has seen MR-Buster growing in the family’s paddocks for 27 years and uses it as the benchmark for his sorghum program.

“I was hoping Sentinel would yield as good as Buster but it went better, so we’ll have to consider it now.”

The crop was planted in the first week of November 2017 and received good rainfall throughout the growing season, with 75mm in October 2017, 72mm in November 2017, 92mm in December 2017, 39mm in January 2018 and 8mm in February 2018.

Mr Shooter, who grows sorghum and mungbeans in summer and wheat, barley and chickpeas in winter, said some of the biggest developments in cropping for them have been no till and spraying out sorghum.

“The moisture conservation that no till offers is priceless and the ability to spray out sorghum with Roundup was huge for us.

“Sorghum used to be a season-long hungry crop but killing the plant prevents it from using valuable nutrients and soil moisture.

“When it’s physiologically mature and reaches that black point stage, there’s no benefit of the plant still being alive, so spraying out is ideal.”

The grower said igrowth technology could be one of the next great developments in the sorghum industry.

“This is going to be a boon for flat country since floods create big issues for us, particularly the spread of Johnson grass.

“Sentinel will give us the opportunity to use group B herbicides in-crop to assist in our integrated weed control on the family farm.

“Depending on what the weather is doing this season, we’ll put in a few more bags and go from there.”

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