Tradition and trust play a big role in agriculture. For many, relying on known brands for tractors through to seeds brings foreseeable results with reduced risk for the next season.
Bringing a new product to market against stiff competition and a tough crowd, can be a big ask for any business.
Grain sorghum is one such product that has been around for years with varieties from suppliers that have been trusted to perform. A predominant crop for southern Queensland and into northwestern New South Wales, grain sorghum is a trusted grain crop. Dryland or irrigated, grain sorghum delivers and with several suppliers offering competitive product, introducing a new variety is a challenge.
Against a backdrop of variable rainfall and a recent drought, one fourth generation farmer who has been in the district for more than 40 years recognises the value of grain sorghum.
On the advice of the local agronomist, Jason Charles and his father, opted to try a different brand of grain sorghum ‘just to see’.
In its first year as a test crop against other brands that had been planted for years, Cracka grain sorghum was ‘ok’, but then Jason admits that the growing conditions were not ideal as the property’s irrigation water allocation was diverted elsewhere.
This year, keen to try again, Jason found that Barenbrug’s Cracka grain sorghum has out-performed the other varieties – with the same tried and true growing conditions, the same soil, same harvesting process. The results were impressive. Averaging more than 4 tonne per acre, with good tillering, a good bright red grain and superior standability for easy harvest, has convinced Jason’s dad that it was a worth a try.
“Dad has been pretty impressed with the results we got with the Cracka grain sorghum after years of using other brands,” said Jason Charles.
“Side by side with another brand, Cracka was a touch better in terms of yield, but where it really stood out was in the header. The other brand filled the header with all stalk chaff – no amount of tweaking the settings resolved the issue. With Cracka it was perfect first go, so easy and fast to harvest. It’s standabaility was superior as well, as the head stood clear of the leaf matter.
“The colour was good too – the bright red you recognise as grain sorghum, which goes well in the bird seed market, they often pay a premium for the brighter colour.”
The initial planting trial was around 20 acres of each brand, but the success of the Cracka harvest, means that Jason and his father will commit to 200 acres for the coming season. With growing conditions well suited to grain sorghum – 700mm annual rainfall plus top ups of irrigation; alkaline basalt soil and an addition of urea and all-rounder fertiliser as needed, Jason is confident for the coming season.
“A lot of the grain sorghum brands have a lot of hype around them that just haven’t delivered. We worked with our local agronomist to see what would work best for us and his recommendation was Cracka, and the results have spoken for themselves,” said Jason.