Situated in Central Queensland, Kevin’s 1200 hectare farm provides excellent growing conditions for the sunflowers, chickpeas and white sorghum he supplies to Kialla.
Each year, Kevin plants about 200 hectares with chickpeas, which are grown as a rotation crop. The remaining 1000 hectares will be used for the grain crops he grows, such as sorghum, sunflowers and wheat. As a legume, chickpeas restore nitrogen to the soil, so crop rotation ensures that whichever grain crop he plants the following year has a sufficient supply of this essential element.
Next year he will plant a different 200 hectares with chickpeas, thus ‘resting and restoring’ areas of his farm each year from the more nutrient demanding wheat or sorghum.
Crop rotation is an important tool for organic farming, whereas conventional farmers can resort to synthetic fertilisers like urea to restore the nitrogen year after year.
An essential element for soil fertility and health, nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll, which makes plants green. Therefore nitrogen is particularly important for green crops like maize, popcorn and sorghum. Without enough nitrogen plants can be stunted and underdeveloped.
He will plant the sorghum in spring or summer depending on moisture and harvest about 4 months later, anytime between Jan – June. Harvest in Central Queensland can be later due to the warmer weather.
Sunflowers are a summer crop that will be planted from September onwards, depending on soil moisture and harvested 5 months later. THis will be sometime between February and May depending on when the crop was planted.