Irrigation boosts corn destined for silage pit

Forage crops get the nod at Wylarah this summer


Cropping
Tim, Amelia and Eloise English in the irrigated corn crop at Wylarah, Surat, due to be harvested for silage in early- to mid-December.

Tim, Amelia and Eloise English in the irrigated corn crop at Wylarah, Surat, due to be harvested for silage in early- to mid-December.

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Several significant falls has seen 85 hectares of irrigated corn performing strongly at Wylarah, Surat.

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As summer crops begin emerging across the Darling Downs and south-west off the back of patchy, but significant, falls in September and October, some growers who made the decision to plant early are seeing the rewards. 

For Wylarah farm manager, Tim English, Surat, several significant falls has seen 85 hectares of irrigated corn performing strongly.

Planted on August 23 after being pre-watered in July, Mr English said they were lucky to get under some rain at just the right time. 

“We got lucky with some rain - we got 30mm just after planting and then we got a few lucky storms across it,” he said. 

“We’ve had five inches, including that 30mm on it, and we’ve done two in-crop waters now, with another two to put on it before harvest.”

While many are waiting on the heavens to open before they can plant a summer crop, Mr English said they decided to plant early because of limited water in the dam at Wylarah. 

“I didn't want to lose it from evaporation so we tried to use it up before that happened, and that was the reason we went so early,” he said. 

“We'll scrape through on the water, but we’re lucky we got those rainfall events otherwise it would've been pretty touch and go of whether we had enough water to get it through.

“And we went for the quicker growing varieties just because we were concerned about water availability.”

Recent hot weather wasn’t ideal, but Mr English said it had been a pretty good growing season. 

“We copped the hot days right in the middle of pollination, so we watered it just before and we watered it straight after to try to keep it cool,” he said.

“It might have knocked it around a little bit, but we'll soon see what damage that did to it.”

Mr English said the corn crop will be used to fill the silage pits at Wylarah, however they won’t be planting any grain summer crops this year. 

“We’ve put in all forage crops because we needed something to graze the cattle on,” he said.

“So we've got 1350ha of forage sorghum in for grazing and 125ha of lablab.

“There’s also 350ha of Sedan in for hay, and we're still looking at another 350ha to put in.”

The promising summer season result comes off the back of a solid winter at Wylarah.

Mr English harvested 64ha of Spartacus barley, which yielded just over 4t/ha and 45ha of Suntop wheat, which also yielded 4t/ha. 

Both crops were watered prior to planting, had one in-crop water and received a good rainfall in October to finish them off.

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