Craig Bell – Coraki, NSW

With it being effectively too late for planting corn to be cut for silage, Haman Coulter of McGregor Gourley, South Lismore was willing to try the suggestion of S&W Seed Company’s Shane Kable to plant some sweet sorghum for late silage. Craig Bell of Coraki was willing to plant a block of S&W Seed Company’s Sweet As and two other experimental sweet sorghum lines.

The winter forage was removed in spring, followed by the direct drilling of Sweet As and the two experimental lines into the paddock on 21 January, ready for rainfall.

Between 12.5 and 16 kilograms per hectare was sown, splitting the bags across different sized strips in the paddock.

The block was sown without fertiliser and with good forecasted rainfall, the sorghum was top-dressed with pasture booster.

The wet weather encouraged the crop to grow but also delayed harvest.

With some fine weather forecast the block was cut into windrows with a mower conditioner on 27 April. The windrows were picked up with a forage harvester that chopped the sweet sorghum and loaded it into trucks so it could be transported into the silage pit.

Craig was very happy with the biomass and was surprised when approximately 105 tonne was harvested from 4.39 hectares. A feed quality sample of each variety was tested on the way to the pit.

Haman was happy with the flexibility provided by the sweet silage options, “It allowed us to plant the winter fodder on time and not have to wait for the corn silage to be taken off.”

There are plans for Haman and Craig to combine corn silage and S&W Seed Company sweet sorghum in the future

Image: Craig Bell’s S&W Seed Company Sweet As Sweet Forage Sorghum being cut into windrows.

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