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Forage Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)

Plant Characteristics: Tall annual with large seed head.

Establishment: Sorghum is highly drought tolerant and it can be grown throughout the state. Planting should occur between May and June. Wide rows should be used when drilling at rates of 4 to 6 lb/ac. Seed can be broadcast at rates of 15 to 10 lb/ac. Leadfposts, cornstalk borer and sorghum midge could affect establishment and productivity.

Fertilization: Poor tolerance to acid soils. Adapted to sandy-loam and clay-loam soils with a pH of 6 to 7.

Grazing/Hay Management: Forage use is only silage. Silage should be harvested at the early dough state between July and September depending on planting date. Yields range from 15 to 30 tons/ac. A second harvest might be possible in the southern part of the state if early planting occurs.

Forage Quality: Silage values ranges from 85 to 90% of the corn values. Prussic acid or nitrate accumulation can a problem under plant stress. Sorghums are plants that produce cyanogenetic glucosides. This plant product decomposes under certain conditions to form toxic hydrocyanic (HCN) or prussic acid. Normally, the intact glucoside is present, and this is not harmful. However, wilting and frost damage cause the formation of HCN.

Varieties/Cultivars: n/a.

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