Today the UQ-QAAFI Farming Systems Research group hosted a field walk at our sorghum trial at Warra, in the western Darling Downs. The host for the morning was Dr Joseph Eyre, and provided an opportunity for farmers, agronomists, seed companies and researchers to hear the latest results from our sowing time trial.
The aim of the trial was to assess the suitability of commercial hybrids for the challenges of early sowing, and to identify the optimum plant population density in this novel environment. We were also interested in the ability of the APSIM crop model to simulate crop phenology, growth and yield outside the standard sowing window.
Field walk participants heard the trial provides strong support for the idea that sorghum can germinate and emerge at soil temperatures cooler than current guidelines. Participants were also told that sowing time, hybrid maturity type and in-crop temperature combine to determine whether crops flowered when high and cold temperature stresses are infrequent. Simulations and the field results suggest sowing 'super-early' facilitates an increased frequency of double-cropping chickpea, highlighting benefits of the strategy in the farming system.
The field results also raised important questions, such as the need to thoroughly evaluate the effect of cold soils and frost on sorghum growth and development.
We are grateful the Bidstrup family has encouraged this research through their pioneering ideas and land for the trial site. We look forward to working with them on this topic in the future.