HGS-747 sorghum is a new hybrid offering to market suited to a broad range of environments. It handles tough conditions & is reliable and profitable with excellent standability. A great companion hybrid to consider to complement HGS-114. Hybrid uniformity and traits are all strong attributes, ultimately leading to high yields. No significant difference in performance against other popular hybrids in its class.
• Open head type
• Medium height
• Mid to quick maturity option – 68–70 days to flowering
• Good seed size
• Good seedling vigour
• Good lodging tolerance
• Suited to dryland and irrigation
• Midge rating of 5
• Moderate stay-green (standard spray out practices)
• Easy insect control – open head
• Excellent standability
• Handles tough conditions
• Reliable and profitable sorghum
• Great companion hybrid to complement HGS-114
Grain Sorghum Attributes Chart
Variety Management / Agronomy
Sowing time: Sorghum should be planted when the soil temperature at 9am EST (at the intended seed depth, about 5 cm) is at least 16˚C (preferably 18˚C) for three to four consecutive days and the risk of frosts has passed. Planting into cold soils slows emergence, reduces germination and establishment, and increases susceptibility to seedling blight. Low soil and air temperatures slow plant growth and reduce nutrient uptake (especially phosphorus) inducing purpling in some hybrids. Very early planted paddocks frequently have to be replanted. Note that some hybrids do have better cold tolerance than others.
Plant Population: Row spacing Solid plant rows (75 or 100 cm) typically out-yield skip row or wide rows under good growing conditions, making solid plant more appropriate with high-yielding irrigated crops and/or high rainfall environments. Skip row configurations are more advantageous in low moisture, lower yielding dryland situations. Solid row advantages decrease rapidly as soil moisture declines, especially in more marginal areas. Skip rows are a useful method of conserving water during the vegetative stage of a crop, for use at flowering and grain fill. This term ‘skip row’ indicates
that the row configuration is changed by ‘skipping’ or not planting rows. Skip or wide row configurations are most effective when starting soil water levels are good, with the wide areas between rows acting as a buffer for poor or variable in-crop rainfall. In more marginal western dryland areas, growers could regard wide or skip rows as mandatory and consider either single skip or double skip rows. These wider rows improve risk management by increasing yield stability and greatly reducing the risk of crop failure. However, in high yielding environments or seasons, resulting in 1.0m solid plant yields of 5 t/ha or higher, yield loss of 10–40% (compared to solid plant) should be expected if wide or skip row configurations are used. Agronomic management is very important if sorghum is planted on wide or skip row configurations. Plant population should be the same as solid plant on an area basis (same plants/ha). Uniform (as opposed to patchy) plant establishment within rows will maximise the water use between the wide rows. Good stubble management (ground cover) is necessary to reduce water and soil loss in the skip areas. Effective weed control before and during the season is critical, otherwise the advantages of the wider rows will be lost. Wide rows (>150 cm) allow inter-row cultivation and shielded spraying for weed control.
Crop establishment: Apart from moisture stress, poor crop establishment and weed competition are major factors in significantly reducing yields. The following recommendations should help to improve crop establishment and crop yields. Uniform establishment and accurate depth placement of seed is essential. Precision planters achieve both of these. Planters should be in small enough sections to follow paddock undulations, with large diameter depth wheels located within the frame and tines or discs mounted on parallelogram planter units.
Narrow points or discs are better suited to no-till and minimum-till conditions and work very well in free flowing soils, however excessive planting speeds will reduce establishment. In moist seedbeds, the seed should be placed about 5 cm deep. In dry seedbeds, using moisture seeking for deep furrow planting, the seed is also placed 5 cm deep. That may be 10–12 cm below the original soil surface. Press wheels are essential to improve establishment and to help control soil insect pests of germinating and emerging sorghum, including true and false wireworms. Use press wheel pressures of 4 to 6 kg/cm width of press wheel for conventional seedbeds and 6 to 10 kg/cm for no-till and minimum-till seedbeds. Use pressures at the higher end of the range when sowing moisture is marginal, seed is deeply planted or soil insects are present. Use pressures at the lower end of the range when soils are hard setting or surface crusting. Crop establishment is improved when the shape of the press wheel matches the shape of the seed trench.
Irrigation: Quantities of water required for full irrigation of a sorghum crop will vary depending on seasonal and soil conditions, however budget on 1.4 ML/ha (delivered to the field) for a pre-irrigation, and 3 irrigations of 1.2 ML/ha during the growing season.
The timing of the first irrigation in the absence of rainfall should be mid to late tillering, while the second and third irrigations should be at flowering, and 10–14 days later during early grain fill. Irrigated yields should be in the vicinity of 10–12 t/ha.
Weed Management: Significant yield losses occur if weeds are not killed until 4–5 weeks after planting. For effective control of most weeds, apply atrazine either before planting, at planting or immediately after planting. Apply Primextra®Gold, Dual®Gold or other metolachlor products as a pre-emergent spray for grass control, especially liverseed grass. Treat seed with Concep®II seed safener when using Primextra®Gold, Dual®Gold or other S-metolachlor products. No-till and minimum-till fallowed crops where atrazine and glyphosate have been used should have excellent weed control at planting, and during crop growth. These fallows conserve more soil moisture and should improve the chances of planting crops at the optimum time.
Disease management: Key diseases that can affect grain sorghum include sorghum ergot (Claviceps africana), leaf rust (Puccinia purpurea) and fusarium stalk rot (Fusarium spp.).
For broader disease management programs, please consult advisors from the various State government primary industry departments, or experienced commercial agronomists / consultants in the relevant growing areas.
Sorghum Midge: Sorghum midge (Stenodiplosis sorghicola) is a serious insect pest of grain sorghum in Australia. It can result not only in major damage, but can also require several repeat insecticide applications during the season. Costs from residual losses and uncontrolled damage are estimated at being up to $10 million annually. Management of this pest is now centred on growing midge resistant hybrids. Adult midge emerge in early spring and often spend several generations in Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) before moving into sorghum crops.
Females lay eggs into the flowering spikelets. The larvae then hatch and feed on the developing grain, preventing normal seed development. The midge life cycle is between 2–4 weeks, so with optimal seasonal conditions, extremely high midge numbers can build-up over a growing season (particularly if the flowering period is extended by successive plantings). On a susceptible hybrid, offspring of each egg-laying adult can destroy up to 1.4 g of grain. Large numbers can lead to devastating damage and in some cases, complete destruction of the crop. To manage this problem, midge resistant hybrids were introduced over 30 years ago. In 1993, the (now) Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD DAF) in partnership with GRDC and the commercial sorghum breeding companies, developed a protocol for measuring the midge resistance (MR) levels in grain sorghum hybrids and assigned official MR ratings to all commercially released lines. The rating number is a measure of: the amount of grain lost per visiting female midge per day. It ranges from 1 (nil resistance) through to 8+ (‘practical field immunity’ under most conditions and maximum commercially available resistance). In practical terms, this means that a 7 rated hybrid, when exposed to the same midge pressures as a 1 rated hybrid, will sustain 7 times less damage. The testing protocol, carried out by QLD DAF, involves planting an annual trial in a semi-controlled environment (ideal for sorghum and midge) and subjecting the plants to high midge pressures. The resulting midge damage per head is then assessed for all entries. For evaluation purposes, the test (pre-commercial) hybrids are grown alongside standard/ control lines of known MR ratings. After statistical analysis of the results, official MR ratings are then assigned for each hybrid. This testing regime provides a measure of quality assurance for growers by ensuring hybrids are independently assessed for relative midge resistance in a precise and consistent manner. MR ratings and the accompanying rating mark are only issued to hybrids assessed by the scheme. Growers are able to use the MR rating as a guide to selecting suitable hybrids at planting, and as a tool for calculating threshold limits for crops, permitting more targeted insecticide applications. These threshold limits not only vary with resistance levels, but take into account commodity prices and the cost of insecticides. They are also calculated using the factor of 1.4 g of grain destroyed per one egg-laying adult. Heritage Seeds is proud to be an active member of the Midge Testing Scheme. Follow this link to learn more about the Sorghum Midge Testing Scheme www.grdc.com.au/SorghumMidge
Insect Management: Other insects that can affect grain sorghum include aphids (corn – Rhopalosiphon maidis, oat – R. padi and rusty plum aphid – Hysteroneura setariae), heliothis (Helicoverpa armigera), Rutherglen bugs (Nysius vinitor), Grey cluster bugs (N. clevelandensis) and wireworms (Orondina spp.) For broader insect management programs, please consult advisors from the various State government primary industry departments or experienced commercial agronomists / consultants in the relevant growing areas.
Lodging: Lodging can be a problem in all growing areas. Choose hybrids with good lodging resistance where moisture stress is likely during the latter stages of grain fill. Moisture stress is the most common cause of lodging. Fusarium and charcoal stem rots are often associated with lodging, leading to plant death and considerable yield loss. Crops that remain green with some available soil moisture during grain fill are generally less prone to lodging. Agronomic practices such as no-till, stubble retention and controlled traffic farming, which all aim to store more fallow and in-crop rainfall, will help reduce lodging. The use of wide or skip rows will also help. These practices allow medium maturity hybrids with higher yield potential to be grown. Lodging is rarely a problem on fully irrigated crops but can occur in partially irrigated crops that are stressed during the later stages of grain fill or following desiccation.
Dessication: A pre-harvest spray of either glyphosate or Reglone® knockdown herbicides, can be applied immediately after physiological maturity has been reached. This will hasten dry down of the grain and should kill or desiccate the crop. Desiccation allows crops to be harvested earlier and more efficiently than if crops were not sprayed. Herbicide application at this time can also be used as a salvage weed spray. The timing of the pre-harvest sprays is critical. Crops should be sprayed before the end of March when temperatures are still warm and crops are still green.
The aim is to maximise yield through the assimilation of carbohydrate in the seed, but balance this moisture use with storing water for the next crop. When 95–100% of the grains have formed a ‘black layer’ (i.e. are physiologically mature), the crop is ready to be desiccated. Sprayed crops should be harvested as soon as they have dried down and the withholding period for the herbicide has been met as they are more prone to lodging.
Harvest: Once grain has dried to a level where it can be safely stored (<12%), or transported to an accumulation site, harvest should commence. The availability of good on-farm storage can speed up harvest and give attention to the post- harvest marketing of grain. Both aeration and drying facilities may also assist in progressing harvest. It is most important that storage facilities are clean and free from grain insect pests. Issues of trafficability should also be addressed particularly in heavier clay soils. Serious soil compaction can occur when soils are too wet. This can result in long-term soil damage reducing the performance of following crops.
Heritage Seeds’ grain sorghum hybrids are available with OptiCotePlus™ seed treatment (Thiram fungicide + Crusier® 600 insecticide + Concep II® seed safener).
OptiCotePlus™ seed treatments, with Crusier® 600 and Concep II®, offer the highest levels of protection to enhance growth and improve yield.