The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) on Monday released the first National Variety Trials (NVT) Hybrid Sorghum Performance Report to enhance variety decision making by growers in northern Australia.
Drawing on data generated from the first two years of NVT sorghum trials in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, the report was released at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast.
Sorghum was included in the NVT program for the first time in 2017-18 in response to grower requests for independent variety performance data to underpin informed choices around the most appropriate hybrid grain sorghum varieties to plant in their paddocks.
Trials have been conducted at 21 locations in Central Queensland, Southern Queensland, Northern NSW, the Liverpool Plains and at Kununurra in WA.
GRDC Board Chair John Woods, a northern region grain grower, says the release of the inaugural NVT Hybrid Sorghum Performance Report is a significant step in continuing to develop and improve the nation's sorghum production and grower profitability.
"Sorghum is now the dominant summer crop in the northern region, so it is incredibly important that growers of this crop are provided with the data, information, knowledge and confidence required to extract optimum yield and profit from their sorghum cropping programs," Mr Woods says.
"As a grower of sorghum, I was pleased to see it be the first summer crop added to the types tested through NVT, which will improve our understanding of sorghum's performance in a range of environmental situations.
"And I certainly welcome publication of this report which will no doubt become an important resource for growers and advisers.
"I thank everyone involved in producing this report, including the growers who willingly host trials on their properties and the breeding companies who have participated in the NVT sorghum program over the past two summer cropping seasons," Mr Woods says.
GRDC NVT Manager - North, Laurie Fitzgerald, says the new report is being mailed to growers and is also available at www.nvtonline.com.au/sorghum/.
Copies are being distributed at this week's Summer Grains Conference.
"The report captures data from two summer cropping seasons - 2017-18 and 2018-19 - both of which were hot and extremely dry across the north," Mr Fitzgerald says.
"As a result of the harsh conditions, not all sorghum trials over the past two seasons were harvested. Central Queensland (CQ) was among the regions hardest hit by the lack of moisture, with none of the NVT sorghum trials planted in that region in 2019 meeting rigorous NVT standards. NVT data has, however, been captured from four sorghum trials planted in CQ in 2017-18.
"The overall dataset from the past two seasons of the NVT sorghum program across the northern region has been deemed sufficiently robust to enable publication of the performance report."
Mr Fitzgerald reminds growers and advisers that the predicted yield values that appear in the Hybrid Sorghum Performance Report are from only two seasons and should be taken in context.
"These values may not be representative of the long-term seasonal conditions experienced by growers in various regions."
Sorghum has been traditionally used as feed by domestic livestock industries, but more recently there has been an increasing interest in the grain for use in ethanol production and for human consumption.
It is now one of the 10 major crop types in the NVT program - the others being wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, lupins and oats.
I thank everyone involved in producing this report, including the growers who willingly host trials on their properties and the breeding companies who have participated in the NVT sorghum program over the past two summer cropping seasons.
The largest co-ordinated field trial network of its kind in the world, NVT is a 100 per cent GRDC investment that is fully administered by the GRDC on behalf of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government.
A national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardised trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination, NVT seeks to assist growers to optimise the profitability of their farming systems through choosing the most appropriate varieties for their growing environments.
More than 550 near-release or released varieties are evaluated within hundreds of trials across the country each year, generating highly valuable comparisons for variety agronomic performance, grain yields, disease and pest resistance and physical grain quality traits.
NVT accepts lines into the program for testing two years prior to their commercial release. This ensures sufficient data is available for growers on newly released varieties to make informed variety selection decisions.
Data analysis for NVT is conducted by a team of statisticians through the GRDC's Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) program.
More information about NVT can be found at www.nvtonline.com.au.