Sorghum harvest reaps award

RESPECTED Central Queensland farming award, the Mark Donaldson Memorial Shield, has come full circle in its ninth year, with Kim and Patrick Donaldson winning with their crop of sorghum.

The Donaldsons, who farm ‘Neelia’, Capella, grew a crop of MR-Taurus which yielded 5.7 tonnes per hectare.

Farm manager Wayne Ross said they were fortunate to harvest such a good crop given the tough conditions the region faced.

“It was a pretty challenging year through the district,” Mr Ross said.

“We were very fortunate being in the right spot to get 376mm of in-crop rain, because Clermont nearby didn’t get much at all.”

Mr Ross, along with Patrick, planted 1200ha of sorghum across three varieties at the end of January.

The sorghum was planted on 1m skip rows using a Flexicoil 820 and a Simplicity air cart.

They aimed for an established plant population of 55,000 plants/ha and ended up with 50,000 plants/ha.

“The crop went into chickpea stubble (harvested October), so we didn’t need to apply any fertiliser and there was a good profile of moisture.”

The MR-Taurus was harvested in July, while the other sorghum was taken off in August.

“We received a late rain during the second growth stage, which is where Taurus shined. It was the only decent crop we harvested.”

The shield honours respected Capella farmer Mark Donaldson, who died in a tragic accident at the family property in 2010.

The competition focusses on sorghum crops from the Capella district and Central Highlands.

Mr Donaldson’s base was Capella but he was well known throughout the Central Highlands and Central West.

Previous winners include the Gregg family with MR-Bazley in 2018, the Sampson family with MR-Buster in 2017, the Lund family with Pacific MR43 in 2016, Garry Gersbach with MR-Apollo in 2015, Ivan Gowlett with MR-Scorpio in 2014, Garry Gersbach with Pacific MR43 in 2013, David and Alan Storey with MR-Buster in 2012 and Alan Garside with MR-Buster in 2011.