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Hear It From Darren

Hear It From Darren

The following is an extract from an Australian Grains Research & Development Corporation article:

“Darren and Tanya Jensen farm at Biloela in central Queensland. They crop wheat, chickpeas, mungbeans and sorghum, and run 100 Senepol cross breeders.

Average annual rainfall: 710mm

Farm size: 1820 hectares cropped, some of which is share farmed, 240 hectares of cattle country

Use of professional advice: Agronomist, accountant and soil scientist.

Memberships: Central Queensland Grower Solutions, AgForce

Key recent changes: We purchased a new Boss TX65 Parallelogram Tyne Planter with coulter assembly. It is stronger and provides us with better breakout and seed soil contact on moisture-seeking chickpeas. Good prices last year meant we put in a lot more chickpeas. With no planting rain we couldn’t plant wheat.

Goals for 2017: Over the past few years with the way the Aussie dollar has been we have gone hard and bought a lot of machinery. Now we are looking at on-farm storage to give us more marketing options. We also want to maintain our ascochyta-free status in chickpeas. We are the only asco-free area in central Queensland, if not all of eastern Australia, which should allow us to be a chickpea seed production hub for eastern Australia.

Challenges and opportunities: The big challenge is herbicide resistance – we are all using too much chemical. To combat this, we bought a Brookfield Disc Chain – heavier-duty than a Kelly chain – and have gone back to minimum till rather than zero till. It allows us to deal with Feathertop Rhodes grass and fleabane mechanically rather than chemically. Nutrition is always a challenge here too because of the variable soils. We can have two or three different soil types in one paddock. We did look at using variable rate with yield mapping but the weakness is that some of the poorer areas don’t do better even with higher rates of nutrition. We’ve found we’re better off just going onto the computer and marking out the areas we want to put higher rates of fertiliser on. These are usually our better soils.

As far as opportunities go, we never know when it’s going to rain here so we can have spring, summer or winter crops. As opportunity croppers we have to have seed available at all times of the year so that means we don’t have a fixed mindset. I’m also looking forward to the new chickpea variety PBA SeamerA that has the highest-available ascochyta blight resistance.

R&D wish list: Combating the overuse of herbicides has to be a priority.”

See the full article here.

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