The season of 21/22 has restored confidence in summer cropping after a run of disappointing ones. November rain caused harvest delays resulting in losses and downgrades for winter crops. It also waterlogged early spring planted summer crops, but it filled moisture profiles and was ideal for sorghum and corn. Cotton and mung bean growth was slow in the milder, cloudy conditions but at least were not moisture constrained in dryland situations.
Corn area was restricted by a series of poor performances as a result hot dry seasons, particularly on dryland, a lack of grit market contracts and hesitation over Fall Armyworm. However, early crops came through unscathed from Fall Armyworm, as anticipated, while the summer plant came under pressure. Less Johnson Grass Mosaic Virus ( JGMV) was seen in corn, this season, which was encouraging.
Higher fertiliser prices and recent poor summer seasons meant more conservative yield projections and the actual yields reflect this. Reduced tillering in spring planted sorghum has been noted this season, largely due to the waterlogged cloudy start. But large head size and good grain fill has compensated for lower head number counts and yields have been pleasing.
As we approach late autumn, fallows from winter 2021 have good levels of moisture, with low to moderate levels of fertility depending on crop offtake. This depended on whether they were taken off in a timely manner or were, in some cases, abandoned. Spring hail also played a part in losses in some areas. There will also be early harvested summer crop to be double cropped. With high fertiliser prices and product availability tight, yield expectations will be moderated. However, maximising farming profitability requires consistent yield outcomes and good nutrition is essential. Large stubble loads have broken down reasonably well but tie up of nutrients will cause temporary issues in winter crops if not supplied with additional nutrients where needed.
Last winter we managed to run a winter cereal variety demonstration site, with the help of the Bullock family, and have some useful data on the varieties tested. There is also information from seed companies available on the Pursehouse Rural website. Look up the News area and follow the link. The results from the demonstration are available on request.
By Jeffrey Stone
Agronomist Pursehouse Rural
Pittsworth – 0429 931 376