Barley brews nicely

Barley brews nicely


Grain grower Murray Wise, Avalon, Bowenville, in his barley crop. - Picture: RODNEY GREEN.

Grain grower Murray Wise, Avalon, Bowenville, in his barley crop. - Picture: RODNEY GREEN.

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DARLING Downs grain grower Murray Wise is more than just a little invested in this year's winter crop after scorching summer heat fried his sorghum.

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DARLING Downs grain grower Murray Wise is more than just a little invested in this year's winter crop after scorching summer heat fried his sorghum.

Mr Wise operates the 1600-hectare property Avalon, at Bowenville, with his wife Janette and son Lance.

"It was the worst summer. We thought we had a reasonable crop on the eastern side of the place and it just got fried," he said.

What we expected to go 4 tonne/ha ended up being virtually nothing."

The poor summer crop and subsequent rain in March prompted Mr Wise to replant the majority of the sorghum ground with chickpeas. At the time, they also had chickpea seed on hand.

Mr Wise said they recently bought a 40-foot Tobin no-till disc planter, which had a 13t simplicity air seeder that was able to carry 4t of liquid fertiliser and 9t of seed.

He said the new planter gave them the opportunity to plant deeper if moisture were available.

They are also in the process of buying a John Deere 8370 tractor.

In early April they planted 164ha of Dozer and Warda faba beans, as well as 674ha of chickpeas which were sown in mid-May. The majority of the chickpeas were Boundary and 20ha of Kyabra seed was planted as a trial.

They also planted 140ha of Granger barley in early May, and 318ha of Lancer and Spitfire wheat at the end of May.

Mr Wise said it had been a number of years since they had grown barley.

"We had faba beans in there last year, then we double-cropped with sorghum, then we had the rain in March.

"We had moisture so the only thing we could put back in there because of chemical residue was barley or chickpeas, so barley got the nod."

Mr Wise received 15 millimetres of rain two weekends ago and 5mm last weekend.

He said the rain had freshened the crops up but a decent fall was needed very soon.

"The crops look fine, but they need a soak before the weather warms up."

Mr Wise said they expected to harvest the faba beans in mid to late October, and the remainder of the crops would be harvested at the beginning of November.

Preparations for the next summer crop had begun, Mr Wise said. The ground has been fertilised and they are ready to plant 260ha of MR-Bazley sorghum - they are just waiting on the rain.

Landmark agronomist Adam Pitman is based in Dalby and covers an area from Brookstead to Tara.

Mr Pitman said the chickpea crops he had seen were looking reasonable.

"Early barley crops have had a little bit of frost damage, as has some of the wheat," he said.

"Some crops are looking at getting baled in the next few weeks as well."

Mr Pitman echoed Mr Wise's call for rain across the Darling Downs.

"It's come to the stage where a lot of the rain has been insufficient to produce above average crops.

"They probably are going to be average crops in the majority of areas, but the crops that are on fallowed ground have the most chance of performing above average this year."

The story Barley brews nicely first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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