Kingaroy family achieves 25-year milestone as farming trial co-operators

A Kingaroy farming family has achieved a major career milestone this
year, having completed 25 years of trialling pre-commercial and commercial crops
on their farm in partnership with Pacific Seeds.

Father-and-son duo Graham and Jeff Barbeler partnered with seed company
Pacific Seeds in 1993, planting several grain sorghum and corn varieties on
their property. Describing the trials as hard work, Jeff Barbeler says it
involves a lot of setup including using the right equipment, ensuring the
machinery is clean when moving from one crop to another, and monitoring the
conditions, which need to be consistent across all plots. However, the information
they could extract from these trials has been invaluable.

Aside from labour and a section of their paddock, these trials don’t
cost them anything but what they do get is an idea of which varieties work in their
environment while the company gets data to feed back to its agronomists and
breeders, and the wider industry can subsequently access this information.

The Barbelers are also able to respond correctly to queries about the varieties
they plant since they have access to a whole lot of information from planting
to harvesting including yield, chemical and rainfall data going back decades to
support their decisions.

Their most recent trial was grain sorghum, which they planted in early
December on 90cm rows with John Deere MaxEmerge planter boxes and moisture
seeking tynes. They planted a total of 105 hectares of sorghum, which included
their commercial crops of MR-Taurus, MR-Bazley and MR-Buster. These varieties
also featured in trials alongside PAC2745, MR-Apollo and PAC2476.

Though the trial got off to a troubled start due to a powerful Boxing
Day hailstorm, which wiped out the 10-inch high sorghum plants to the stump,
they were surprised to see most of the crop come right back up. The Barbelers still
managed a decent crop when they harvested the sorghum in May and recorded an
average yield of 4t/ha.

Mr Barbeler said the standout variety for the 2017-18 trial was
MR-Bazley, which seemed like a really hardy crop – tough, consistent and a good
yielder.

Since they planted 60ha of corn later, it did not suffer like the
sorghum.

Looking at the approaching summer season for their program, as well as
beyond in their capacity as trial co-operators, he said they remained positive.

The Barbelers are planting MR-Bazley, MR-Buster and MR-Taurus as their commercial
crops this season as well as some new hybrids for evaluation too.

The family is now looking forward to their
30-year milestone.

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