On The Ground: Stocking up with Nudan sorghum at Roma
April 4, 2016
Grower story from Howard Johnson, Roma.
New release forage sorghum hybrid, Nudan, has lived up to high expectations for Roma grazier, Howard Johnson from Arbroath Grazing Company.
Mr Johnson and his family decided to sow as much Nudan as they could last summer after hearing about its fine stems, soft velvety leaves and quick growth.
The crop performed extremely well, producing a couple of hundred big round bales of quality hay.
“We saw the ad in the paper and liked the idea of a fine stemmed sorghum,” he said.
“So we gave it a go and planted about half the paddock to Nudan and the rest to another variety of forage sorghum.”
Nudan proved to fit in well with the Queensland cattle operation.
“It performed really well. It grew quickly, it grew quite tall and it made some beautiful hay,” said Mr Johnson.
“The other variety went well too, but I tended to favour the Nudan for its fineness of stalk.
“Like any feed, you’ve got to have good moisture underneath, but it yielded well and when we did cut it for hay it regrew so we also had quite a lot of weaner calves on that paddock for about three months afterwards.”
Mr Johnson and his wife Mary farm with their son and daughter in law, Bruce and Darlene and grandson Dean on 5000 hectares.
They breed Hereford, Gelbvieh and Red Angus cross cattle for the EU market, usually weaning the stock on oats.
Mr Johnson said they fed some of their new sorghum hay to the weaners in the yards for two and a half weeks before they were put out to an oat paddock.
The balance of the hay, cut from 36 hectares of forage sorghum, was stacked and covered with tarps.
The paddock is still green and the Johnsons are hopeful that it may yield another cut this spring if it gets a good bit of rain.
“We sprayed the weeds out of it the other day and it’s still looking good, even after the frosts we’ve had,” he said.
The Johnsons also grow a range of crops, with some late planted wheat and chickpeas being their main crops this season.
However, forage sorghum is their pick for hay, with the bigger leaves proving better for shedding water than a winter crop like wheat or oats.
Mr Johnson said Nudan offered lower prussic acid levels, helping to protect the health of their calves.
“That’s one of the other reasons we were keen to grow Nudan and it proved to be good for the calves,” he said.
Nuseed Market Development Agronomist, Tim English, was on farm to see the crop at its best and said he was pleased to see it fitting in so well for the Roma graziers.
“Nudan is a sudan x sudan grass bred for the top end forage market, where quality and performance are paramount,” he said.
“However, it is not just for high rainfall areas or irrigated properties.
“Nudan can be grown in a range of environments, including dairy farms, sheep and cattle businesses and anywhere from marginal dryland country to paddocks under irrigation.”
Mr English recommended graziers consider Nudan this spring and summer for hay production or intensive grazing.
Nudan is a new release forage sorghum hybrid from Nuseed.
Howard Johnson from Arbroath Grazing Company near Roma has found a new favourite forage sorghum. Nudan offers good growth, fine stalks and soft leaves for quality hay.