Early summer crop options

For growers across NSW who were unable to sow a winter crop due to waterlogged paddocks, the window will soon open for early summer crops. In the state’s northern regions, planting windows for crops such as sunflower and early sown sorghum will commence in early August.

NSW DPI Research Agronomist Summer Grains, Loretta Serafin, said starting to plan for summer crops as part of this year’s cropping program is essential to ensure growers can access seed and are prepared to take advantage of the full soil moisture profile.

“A large summer planting is likely, due to the inability of growers to plant their intended winter crop areas. As such demand for seed will be high. Growers should consider pre-ordering seed; which will help ensure they can get access to their preferred hybrids,” said Ms Serafin.

Ms Serafin also said that ongoing weed control will be critical to ensure seedbed soil moisture is not used by weeds prior to sowing.

“Monitoring soil temperatures at 8am, in your intended sowing paddocks, or at least accessing local data sources will also assist in targeting minimum soil temperatures for your preferred summer crop.

“Sunflower can be sown when soil temperatures are 12°C and rising, whilst sorghum soil temperatures have traditionally been 16–18°C for planting. Recent research has shown that early sorghum can be planted when soil temperatures are a minimum of 12°C and rising for the 7 days following establishment. Seek advice if you are planning to plant early sorghum to help optimise crop establishment,” said Ms Serafin.

Strong commodity prices are also driving interest in cotton, so dryland production may be an option in some districts.

To assist with decisions on planting windows, plant populations and row spacings, growers should seek information from an agronomist or NSW DPI, especially if planting summer crops that are not usually grown.

A NSW DPI summer cropping options for northern and central NSW 2022 guide has been released to provide growers guidance on summer crops. The guide is available on the DPI website Summer crop management guide 2019 (nsw.gov.au)

The NSW DPI early planting grain sorghum in northern NSW can be found here Early-planting-grain-sorghum-in-northern-NSW.pdf

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