THE SORGHUM seed market will get a serious shake-up with Nuseed Australia launching two new grain sorghum varieties it believes will have a major influence on the industry.
Traditionally, the grain sorghum market has been dominated by Pacific Seeds, now Advanta Seeds, and Pioneer Seeds.
However, Nuseed Australia commercial manager Andrew Loorham said he thought the two new varieties, Cracka and Rippa, would be popular among growers.
“We are confident both varieties will suit a number of growers, they have a great agronomic package,” Mr Loorham said.
In spite of the recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report which found sorghum plantings in 2016-17 plummeted to their lowest levels in 26 years.
This was due to extremely low prices that led to growers exiting the sorghum industry in their droves and planting alternative, higher value summer crops, such as cotton.
However, Mr Loorham said he believed the sorghum industry had a bright future in the long term.
“All cereal grain prices were depressed last year, you don’t have to look back too far and sorghum prices were at record highs, pricing is cyclical, but we believe the demand for sorghum will be there, which is why we’ve invested in our sorghum breeding program,” Mr Loorham said.
“These are the first two varieties out of our sorghum breeding program, using new genetics, we think it is good for Aussie sorghum growers.”
Agronomically, the two hybrid varieties will suit different regions.
Mr Loorham said Cracka is designed for lower rainfall, dryland environments, while Rippa is better in high rainfall or irrigated situations.
Program manager for Nuseed’s summer crops breeding program Chris Haire said trial results showed the two varieties performed strongly in comparison to rival varieties.
Neil Weier, sales manager with Nuseed, said the varieties would fill a demand from growers for hybrid sorghum varieties designed specifically to stand up in tough Australian conditions.
“These varieties have been trialled in conditions and environments that have tested their capabilities, and they have been shown to perform strongly,” Mr Weier said.
As well as yield, Mr Haire said the two varieties ticked quality boxes, including high test weights, even in tough growing conditions.
Mr Loorham said the two varieties would be sold into the feed sorghum market, rather than the emerging, but still small scale human consumption market.