Pushing A Tropical Crop Into The Arctic Zone? Sowing Sorghum Into Cold Soil Temperatures ‐ Risks And Rewards

GRDC - Loretta Serafin (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Mark Hellyer (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Annie Warren (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Andrew Bishop (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Michael Mumford (DAF Qld, Toowoomba)

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The authors of this paper note in the conclusion: “Flowering data has shown that it is possible to move the flowering and grain fill window to earlier in the season, provided that the time taken for crop establishment is not excessively prolonged by cool early growing conditions such as occurred at Breeza. At Breeza there was little difference in days to flowering between all three sowing times even though sowing time varied from 10th august to 21st September”.   Please access the full paper via the link below if this research interests you.

The take home messages from this GRDC funded research are below. Please access the full paper via the link below for methodology, references, acknowledgements and discussion.

Take home messages from the paper include:

  • Plant establishment was significantly impacted by the super early (early August) and early (late August) sowing times when soil temperatures were between 8.4 and 12.2°C.
  • Plant populations from the early August (super early) sowing, particularly at the Mallawa and Gurley sites, were approximately half the population established from the standard sowing time (October) when soil temperatures were consistent with or greater than current recommendations of 16-18°C.
  • Viable plant stands were established at sub optimal temperatures and produced higher yields than the standard sowing time at Mallawa and Breeza. Sowing sorghum into cool soils has the potential to shift the flowering window and reduce the risk of heat and moisture stress during flowering and grain fill and increase the likelihood of double cropping opportunities.
  • However, this is dependent on being able to establish the crop in a timely manner. At the Breeza site for example, the time taken for emergence was significantly lengthened for the early August and late August sowing. As a result there was little impact on flowering date achieved by varying sowing time compared to the standard window in late September.
  • There is a need to further understand the effect of cool and freezing temperatures on germination, emergence, canopy and growing point development before the practice of “super early” or “early” sowing could be extended commercially across the northern grains region.

2018 - Australia - GRDC - Loretta Serafin (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Mark Hellyer (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Annie Warren (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Andrew Bishop (NSW DPI, Tamworth), Michael Mumford (DAF Qld, Toowoomba)
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