Sorghum to $230/t | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Sorghum to $230/t

Sop far,, it’s a less than average year for sorghum planting and if most growing areas haven’t had rain by Christmas, there will be a solid production shortfall this season. On a brighter note, on-farm price returns on early contracts are offering upwards of $230 a tonne. The dry start has hatched three basic options, according to Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Moree East district agronomist Rebecca Byrne. These options were plantings into very early moisture towards the end of August to early September; sowing on late September and early October rain where it fell; or hoping for late sowing crops on December/January rain. Ms Byrne said the first option resulted in some difficulties at the time with cooler temperatures while the second option was a “bit tricky” because of sowing into variable moisture, creating often patchy plant stands. “The third, not looking positive at the moment, is for late sowing which is not popular in this area,” she said. “Early crops perform a lot better because of the rainfall distribution and temperatures. “That window finishes in early January and while a few weeks off, is not promising at the moment.” Ms Byrne said there had been a slight turn away from irrigated cotton to sorghum this season, predicting a possible swing of 10 per cent to sorghum in the north-western region. “Those crops are looking pretty good, but have stressed with the high temperatures, so there has been more watering,” she said. In the Moree district Ms Byrne suggested that upwards of 50,000 hectares was growing at present, less than the usual 70,000ha. “Hopefully that’s all established crop.” It’s another story in the Upper Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah, where John Hosking predicts only about 20 per cent of sorghum has been planted this season. Mr Hosking of John Hosking Consultants, Quirindi, said plantings had been very difficult. “Those that have planted are only getting 50pc germination,” he said. “Then there are a lot of people who can’t even consider getting the tractor out of the shed, it’s too dry.” He said if it didn’t rain by Christmas, “sorghum just won’t happen”. Guy Roberts of Guy Roberts Commodities, Moree, suggested prices were reflecting, at this stage, the possible shortfall in sorghum. Mr Hosking said growers that had signed early contracts were looking at a return of about $230 a tonne on farm. Coonamble-based DPI district agronomist Rohan Brill said there was little opportunity for sorghum crops anywhere throughout his region. “Hardly anybody has planted, except for a couple of crops in the east,” he said. Mr Hosking said all was not lost for summer croppers if they received rain after Christmas. “We’ve got a little window for sunflowers, then mung beans, but they’re a pretty touchy crop.”

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