Dalby grower trials ground breaking igrowth sorghum

Left to right - 'Glenesk' operator Hannes Smith with Greg and Derryck Mickleborough. Image courtesy of Pacific Seeds

Dalby grower Derryck Mickleborough is one of the first in the world to trial ground breaking new grain sorghum herbicide tolerance technology “igrowth”.

Mr Mickleborough tested the first igrowth hybrid, Sentinel IG, ahead of its commercial release by Pacific Seeds this season.

Mr Mickleborough, who owns a 670ha irrigated cropping operation at ‘Glenesk’, planted the 7.5-hectare trial of Sentinel IG next to 7.5ha of mainstay variety MR-Scorpio in September 2017.

He said due to weed pressure being low at the time, he did not utilise the weed control component of the technology, rather focussing on yield results.

“We’ve planted Scorpio for two seasons and it produced high yields, so we wanted to compare it with Sentinel,” he said.

“While we didn’t use Sentinel for weed control, we would be interested in using that side of it to tackle summer weeds when required, particularly in our dryland lease and share farm country.”

The 2017-18 sorghum plant began in late September 2017 on 1m rows with enough fertiliser applied to aim for 10t/ha yields.

The crop was irrigated at secondary root stage, again at pre-flower and a third time at grain fill.

At the end of harvest on March 20 2018, the results were in – MR-Scorpio yielded 9.5t/ha and Sentinel IG yielded 8.6t/ha.

“What I drew from the experience is that Sentinel could be a high yielding hybrid with the added benefit of in-crop weed control,” Mr Mickleborough said.

“We were happy to have just Scorpio but now we have something else to consider.

“Also, because Sentinel has a long stem, it makes it incredibly easy to harvest.”

Mr Mickleborough has been farming at the Dalby property for 10 years with father Greg and recently took ownership of the operation.

Their summer crop rotation includes cotton, sorghum and mungbeans, while their winter plan features barley and chickpeas.

The grower said their business was based on flexibility due to irrigation water availability and commodity prices.

“There’s no fixed rotation here. We run a highly flexible business based on water availability from our catchment because almost all our crops are irrigated.”

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