Sorghum *Call for price*
Sorghum is an annual grass that is extremely drought tolerant, making it an excellent choice for arid and dry areas. Sorghum has special adaptations to weather extremes and is a very stable source of nutrition as a result. Sorghum is most commonly red and hard when ripe, and it is usually dried after harvesting for longevity, as the grains are stored whole. Sorghum does not do well in overly sandy soils. The recommended planting rate for sorghum is 25 to 30 lbs per acre. Sorghum is used primarily for animal feed in the United States although cultivation of sorghum is on the rise. The seeds, stalks, and leaves can all be fed to livestock or left in the field and used as a forage crop. One drawback to grain sorghum is that the plants can develop a build-up of acid if stressed by drought or flooding. Triple-cross or "sweet" sorghums have eliminated this problem.
There are a few steps that should be heeded during soil preparation and planting to insure successful germination, and healthy growth of seed.
First a soil sample should be taken and analyzed. Soil samples can be taken to a local Agriculture Extension agent, fertilizer plant, or private lab for analysis. The analysis will reveal the soil type, pH, and other factors. The analysis will allow the agent to make recommendations as to what will need to be added to the soil to make it ideal for the type of seed to be planted. Most seeds will do well within a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
A properly prepared seed bed is essential for successful planting. The area to be planted must be cleared of debris and all existing vegetation removed. The area should then be chopped or disced as needed to create an even fluffy soil.
The preferred method of planting seed is with a grain drill or culti-packer. This equipment allows for precise metering of seed and depth placement. Most people will not have access to a drill and will instead use a broadcast spreader for planting. The broadcast method will work well, but also requires the area to be rolled to insure proper seed-to-soil contact. In areas with very fine sand, light dragging is preferred to rolling. In any case, seed should not be buried more then ½ inch deep with ¼ inch being ideal.
Fertilizer can be applied at the time of planting. Consult with an Ag extension agent or fertilizer plant for proper formula and application rates.
For any other questions about specific planting methods, please call us at (863) 635-4473 and we will be happy to assist you.