There are several sorghums used for forage in the U.S. today. They include grain sorghums, sorghos and grass sorghums, and sudangrass. Different sorghum types and hybrids are used for silage, pasture and hay. Sudangrass and sudangrass hybrids are usually used for summer pasture and hay.
Sorghum is a tall, coarse, drought-tolerant grass which varies considerably in growth characteristics. It can range in height from 45 cm to 2.5 m (18 in. to 8 ft.). The sorghum bloom grows on one large central stem and is compact in most grain sorghums. It is open in sudangrass and some forage sorghums. The stems are usually straight, but sometimes curve. Sorghum heads can contain up to 6000 fertile spikelets. Sorghum is generally self-pollinated, but a great deal of cross-fertilization can occur.
Sorghum cultivars have grains of varying sizes: grain sorghums may have 25,000 to 60,000 seed/kg (11,365 to 27,275 seed/lb.); whereas grass sorghums will have 120,000 to 150,000 seed/kg (54,545 to 68,182 seed/lb.); the seed size of hybrids is intermediate. The seed may be white, yellow, red or brown.
Sorghums can be drilled, broadcast or sown in rows. Normal seeding rates are 20 to 30 kg/hectare (18 to 27Ibs./acre). A heavy seeding rate should be used for large-seeded cultivars and the seeding rate should be decreased for smaller seeded plants like sudangrass. The date of planting is determined by the use intended for the crop.
Curtis and Curtis Inc. is pleased to offer a full line of Sorghum Partners, Channel, Dekalb, and organic Blue River grain sorghums.
Early Sumac is highly regarded as a forage sorghum because of its excellent feeding quality. It is an open pollinated variety requiring about 100 days to mature. The plants grow from 167.8 to 213.5 cm (66 to 84 in.) tall. The forage is sweet and juicy, but the dark red seed is somewhat bitter.
(Sorghum vulgare pers.)
Hegari is an open pollinated, white-seeded sorghum. It is used for both grain and forage production. The high quality grain is highly palatable. Hegari also makes an extremely high quality forage. It is very popular with dry land farmers.
(Sorghum aim urn)
Sorghum almum is a hybrid grass sorghum which from available evidence is a hybrid between Johnsongrass and a sorghum. Similar in appearance to Johnsongrass, is has wider leaves, larger stems and longer, more spreading heads. It is adapted to all types of soil. It has been proven successful under irrigation, on dry land, and on range land.
Wondergraze is a prime forage Sorghum Sudangrass. Planting Wondergraze will allow the producer the option to graze, bale or green chop for feed. Wondergraze will produce up to sixteen tons of silage with 12%-18% protien. Soil temperatures should be 60° F before planting.
Piper was released by the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station in 1960. It is the result of a cross between Tift and Common sudangrass which are lines low in prussic acid. It is low in prussic acid. It is equal in hay yield to Common and sweet sudangrass, except that the stems are very juicy and sweet with glumes that are sienna in color. The forage yield is also slightly higher than that of Common sudangrass.
Sweet sudangrass has a sweet, juicy stalk and stem. Sweet Sudan was developed by crossing Common Sudan with Leoti Sargo, and repeatedly backcrossing to sudangrass in order to take advantage of the best characteristics of both products. This sudangrass is disease resistant and has non-shattering seed. It is leafier and grows taller than Common sudan. This increases the forage value over Common sudan.