Sorghum growers have started harvesting what is potentially the biggest crop in seven years.
ABARES' latest forecast has the national crop pegged at 1.97 million tonnes from 586,000 hectares sown.
Average to above average rainfall across Queensland in October and November supported the establishment of early sown sorghum, as well as encouraging further planting across the state.
Although record high November rainfall in NSW likely damaged some early sown crops and may have limited some planting, later planted sorghum will benefit from further rainfall.
AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said early planted sorghum around the Darling Downs was coming off now, while the bulk of the harvest would be in February and March.
"Once we get a couple of weeks into February, the early crops will be done and dusted and the later planted stuff will be well and truly on its way too," Mr Taylor said.
Mr Taylor said some growers have had a "terribly dry run of summers" for the last four to five years, so it was pleasing to see high yielding crops.
"Looking around the countryside, I think five to seven, possibly even eight tonnes [per hectare] is going to be pretty common in sorghum. That's not to say the later crop that's putting heads out now wouldn't benefit greatly from a good fall of rain, because it has dried off quite significantly and gotten warmer."
Large rainfall events at the tail end of last year set up crops around Brigalow, with some farms receiving 280mm in November and 120mm in December to take the year's total to 860mm - a 50 per cent increase on the average.
Daniel Wegener started harvesting his early planted crop at Brigalow property Karingal on January 3 and has finished about 70 per cent.
"We've had one or two paddocks in the last few years that have done well, but nothing this high yielding since 2012," Mr Wegener said.
"From 2013 onwards it's been dry. The 2018-19 season was the driest I can remember."
Readouts from the header are showing an average of 7.5t/ha.
Neighbours Terry Dalgliesh and Greg Dalgliesh at property Galtymore began harvesting their early planted sorghum on Tuesday.
"At the moment, I'd have to say it's nearly some of the best sorghum I've ever been in," Terry said.
"The header is showing us about seven tonnes to the hectare, but we're only in one variety so far. There's patches getting up to eight or nine tonnes to the hectare which is just unbelievable, but it depends what the average is."
Mr Dalgliesh said the promising crop was welcome after a "fairly lean five years" and the rising cost of inputs.
North of Goondiwindi, mixed farmers Dave Beare and his son Tim are looking to spray out 160ha of sorghum at their property Port Reath near Billa Billa in a week or two.
Dave said the crop, planted in the first week of October, struggled early in the season due to water logging and potential herbicide damage but has since recovered.
"During the wheat harvest we had plenty of rain events, and then they were topped off by up to five inches (127mm) on New Year's Eve. I couldn't believe it," Mr Beare said.
"It struggled for a while but it's really starting to come good now. The weather is warming up and it has been getting more favourable rain during the growing season."
With last season's sorghum averaging 2.5 to 3 tonnes per hectare, the farmers are hoping to add another tonne to the figure.
"It's not our best paddock - there's several different soil types - but I'd be very happy with four tonnes to the hectare," Mr Beare said.
"It's a really good time to be farming at the moment.
"There's a few inflationary pressures but commodity prices are high - I'm surprised how good grain prices are considering logistical constraints and turmoil in the world.
"Now we've got the season with us. We had a drought in 2018-19, and 2020-21 was really bad, so here's to better times."
At Somerton, north west of Tamworth, Will Chaffey has received 320mm of rain since sowing on October 20 and is confident the crop will be ready for harvest in three to five weeks.
"The amount of rain the crop's had meant the ball was very much in our court and if something was going to go wrong it would be our fault, not the plant's," he said.
"Since we've sown it, there hasn't really been any signs of moisture stress at all, which has been nice."
In Central Queensland, Elders Emerald agronomist Hollie Faulkner said some growers had planted sorghum but many were still waiting on rain.
"Around Capella, a few farmers have just finished planting - they had enough moisture to comfortably go. But then up around Clermont and Kilcummin, growers are still waiting for a few more inches of rain. Some haven't even put their forage sorghum in yet, Ms Faulkner said.
"We've got clients who won't plant until early to mid-February if they need to. It's not ideal, but if they want to get a crop in the ground, it's what they'll have to do."
With chemical and fertiliser prices higher than usual, some growers are soil testing to gauge nutrient reserves, while others are ploughing to stay on top of weeds.
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