Special Edition – Winter cropping feature
June 18, 2016
June 18, 2016
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2017 NFW Farmers Catalogue


With some early rains last month, some of corn and sorghum crop has commenced predominately out west. With soil temps now in the zone for planting rainfall is once again the key. Hopefully if we can get some follow up falls and significant ones at that would be much appreciated.

Now that its started to warm up hopefully we will see increased storm activity as well.

Corn, Grain Sorghum and forage varieties have been selling well and there are even some varieties sold out already. Another option early may be Mung Beans if you have adequate moisture with a second Mung Bean planting occurring early January.

Like this years oat season there is huge pressure for quick cattle and sheep feed and another option to forage is Millet. Millet is another quick option, has no prussic acid however may require more moisture then forage. NFW has good supplies of Millet varieties however seed is not in abundance unlike previous years so order early to avoid disappointment. Let’s look forward to a great season.



Some things to consider when growing corn

70 % of the water required to grow the crop is used from week 5 to week 12
Peak water demand by maize could be as high as 60 to 70 mm per week
4 Days of wilting can result in up to 40% yield loss – weeks 7 to 12 most sensitive23


Planting needs to be right , if you are not getting an accurate seed placement it can mean lost yield. Double ups mean barren plants & gaps are lost potential. You may have to slow down , fit new planter plates or change some settings. A corn grower recently told me the new plates he bought for his planter paid for themselves with the first corn crop he planted.

By week 10 (70 days after sowing) maize will have taken up over 80%, 53% and 88% of its N, P and K requirement, respectively. It will continue to take up N and P after silking.

Weed Control

Primextra Gold or other mixes of atrazine & metolachlor or s- metolachlor and atrazine work best when rainfall or irrigation follows the application. There are several application possibilities from pre-plant to post-plant pre-emerge , and a couple of traps to avoid so give us a call to discuss your options. Where there are populations of large seeded weeds such as stramonium , noogoora burr or populations of weeds such as amaranthus where a percentage are getting through the herbicide you may need to consider a post emergent spray of Starane Advanced plus atrazine. There always seems to be those weeds that germinate below the applied residual herbicide. This can be particularly the case in reduced tillage plantings where there is little to no mechanical incorporation of the herbicide . Other herbicides such as Tordon 75D have a very narrow application timing.

Weed control- needs to be done early – mixtures of atrazine & starane should be applied by the six leaf stage. After the 6 leaf stage Droppers are required , so if you plan on an over the top starane & atrazine spray , do it early.

Primextra Gold (370g/L Atrazine, 290g/L S-Metolachlor) has a 28 day withholding period for cutting or grazing for stockfood. All other metolachlor & S- metolachlor formulations have a 13 week withholding period for corn. Most atrazine formulations have a 28 day withholding period for corn.

N needs to be available immediately after germination for vigorous establishment. From week 4, maize takes up large quantities of N and grows rapidly. During weeks 5 to 10, maize takes up approximately 80% of its N requirement. If N runs low during this period, yield will be significantly reduced. At peak growth rates, maize takes up 4.0 kg/ha/day of N.

The most critical period in terms of yield potential for maize occurs from about two weeks before silking (46 to 49 DAS) to about two weeks after silking (77 DAS). A larger reduction in yield will result from moisture and nutrient stress at this time than at any other period. Ensuring all nutrients are in adequate supply during this critical period will help achieve maximum yield potential.

All of the P, K, S and trace elements can be applied prior to planting. N is best applied as split applications. Applying two thirds of the crops N requirement at planting and the remainder two weeks before silking.

NFW have all the corn varieties from Pacific, Pioneer and Heritage you require. You’ll find your local store’s phone number on the front cover of this newsletter.

Sorghum – Early Planting
Now that the days are warming up as too are our soil temps. 16 degrees and rising at 8am has been the rule of thumb most growers, seed companies and agro’s recommend to plant your sorghum seed. That’s great but if you have good moisture and your soil temperature is barely 13 degrees what do you do? Too wait or to plant, that is the question. Plenty have had a crack early this season already with variable results. The best results are with those that managed to jag a shower of rain post planting to keep the planting trench moist long enough to give the seedling time to get moving. The worst results are where crops were sown on marginal moisture with no follow up rain. Its difficult to know whether or not it was the cold or the dry or both that caused the problem. Even still there won’t be any decisions made until further rain is received as far as replanting goes. Knowing the expected outcomes from your decision may help in making your mind up.

Planting Early – negatives24

Frosting potential

Slow seedling emergence

Drying Seedbed in cold/slow conditions

Seedling mortality

Insect and pest damage

Disease infection

Generally the later planted crop will catch up

Replanting expense

Planting Early – positives25

Might be the only or best planting rain for the season

A slowly emerged seedling is better than none

Given the right conditions seedlings will recover

At least you have the rest of the summer to try planting again (not ideal)

Probable cooler conditions at flowering

Better chance of not having to dry grain post harvest

Greater the possibility of recharging profile late in the summer season (normally)

Increased chance of double cropping

It is extremely hard to sit idle and watch the ground dry out because the soil is too cold to plant. So if you do decide to have a crack at early sorghum expect the worst and hope for the best. You might just get away with it. For all your Grain Sorghum varieties and agronomic advice please contact your local NFW store.

Forage Sorghum for Summer Feed
Forage sorghum needs to be fertilized well and the grazing managed correctly for good production. In a summer with plenty of rain the sorghum maybe just replacing grass, however after two dry summers spelling pasture may be a good thing. If the seed is treated with concept 2, you can also clean up dirty country by applying an atrazine & dual mixture (pre-emergent).

An early plant for quick feed you could use a Sudan x Sudan cross, like Pioneer SSS (Super Sweet Sudan) which stands repeated grazing and has lower prussic acid than the long-maturing sweet sorghums. They also are fined stemmed and very leafy which are favorable for making silage or hay.
Good varieties to keep in mind are Grow n Graze & Revolution, Both these varieties are extremely vigorous & well suited to early or late sowing.

Planting forage Sorghum
TIME: Spring- Summer
SOIL TEMP: 16°C and rising
PLANTING RATE: 3-5Kg (dryland)

Animal Health on Forage

Prussic acid can be high in forage sorghum plants under 6 weeks old and can increase with stress from lack of moisture, cold weather or nutrient deficiency. Prussic acid poisoning is reduced by feeding sulphur block or grain supplements and Hypo (photographic sodium thiosulphate) should be kept on hand for acute cases.

Cattle on forage should be vaccinated for pulpy kidney (5 in 1).

Variety selection is another way to minimise the risk of prussic acid, Select varieties which are sudan x sudan eg. Pioneer SSS,Nudan & Superdan 2.

These varieties are well suited to mixed grazing as they are fine stemmed which is suited for sheep & making hay.

NFW also carries a full range of forage varieties from Pioneer, Pacific and also a full range of millet seeds for the 2014 season. Some varieties are limited in stocks, especially the millets. Millets have no prussic acids, so this could influence your decision. Please contact your local store today to order and avoid disappointment.
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