Warm Season Options - Sorghum Family
Coming off of challenging weather in 2019, many are looking for alternative forage options for this summer. Warm season annuals planted alone or in blends, can help handle the too wet springs and the too dry summers. The options mainly vary in desired harvest method and feed goals. Prairie Creek Seed focuses on the following warm seasons:
BMR Forage Sorghum -
If you are looking for a warm season that can serve as a corn silage replacement in a one-cut system, then forage sorghum is your move. In droughty and lower-fertility soils, forage sorghum can have comparable dry matter yields to corn silage. On good ground, forage sorghum will generally produce 80% of what corn silage would. Forage sorghums can be harvested standing and stored like corn silage. Around the soft dough stage, forage sorghum can provide a sugar-starch equivalent to corn silage with similar protein levels. A bonus is it’s extremely digestible fiber throughout the plant.
BMR Sorghum Sudangrass -
This is a cross between forage sorghum and sudangrass. This warm season brings the height and robust structure of a forage sorghum combined with the smaller stem of sudangrass. Sorghum sudan is a flexible forage that can be harvested multiple times in a season as silage or strip grazed. With a dry matter yield potential of 5-7 tons per acre, sorghum sudan can provide excellent stored feed. Depending on the type of feed you are looking for will decide when you harvest the sorghum sudan cuttings. Harvested or grazed early, this will have higher protein, low lignin and negligible sugars. Later harvest provides moderate protein with increased sugars as the plant matures. All the while, the fiber digestibility remains steady and palatability high.
BMR Sudangrass -
Looking for an annual to make baleage? Want the highest quality possible? Sudangrass is your answer. This warm season will have finer stems and thinner leaves than the previous two options. This is why sudangrass makes excellent, tighter bales that can store and ferment properly. For grazing, sudangrass can provide increased tillering with its regrowth contributing to the second or even third pass. Protein levels at boot stage can be 15-18% making this a possible haleage replacement if needed.