A workshop called by the Coarse Grains Productivity program of the GRDC identified higher yields in both good and bad seasons, long-term midge and Heliothis control, the possible loss of the chemical Atrazine and marketing as the issues of most concern to the sorghum industry in Queensland and northern NSW. The workshop involved growers, researchers and end-users in the feed industry.
Speakers at the workshop also expressed concern that many sorghum growers have not taken advantage of technological breakthroughs that would help them develop profitable and sustainable farming systems.
The Deputy Chair of the GRDC Northern Panel, Ray Shorter, said the meeting gave high priority to realising the yield potential of sorghum under all conditions. There was also considerable discussion of the feed industry's quality requirements.
Dr Shorter said the meeting also gave high priority to research into the marketing of sorghum - forecasts of production and feed industry demand, as well as improving grower marketing skills in the wake of industry deregulation.
Key research areas include:
- continuation of the core breeding program, for yield improvement, midge resistance and drought tolerance;
- resource use efficiency, with a focus on interactions between genotype, nitrogen and water;
- understanding the genetic basis of moisture stress tolerance, with staygreen as the main focus and other attributes as appropriate;
- the identification of new sources of midge resistance;
- a range of genetic engineering projects;
- management of Heliothis; and
- the incorporation and evaluation of a waxy gene in sorghum