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Group Title: State of Florida. Dept. of Agriculture. Bulletin
Title: Sorghum for silage and forage in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003041/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sorghum for silage and forage in Florida
Series Title: State of Florida. Dept. of Agriculture. Bulletin
Physical Description: 12 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Scott, John M ( John Marcus )
University of Florida -- College of Agriculture
Publisher: Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1928
 Subjects
Subject: Sorghum -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sorghum as feed   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by John M. Scott.
General Note: "November 1928"
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "Prepared and published in co-operation with the College of Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville."
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Bibliographic ID: UF00003041
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA3482
ltuf - AKD9386
oclc - 28521370
alephbibnum - 001962709
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Full Text

.Noveniber-, 1928


Sorghum for Silage

and Forage

g in Tlorida



I '
.Johln \1. Sot t



State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
SNathani Mayo, ('D li.iisit -, N n',al

I



SI'repiaril ld a ln ll 'ullishe i in ('C-oiprationl with the C(oll'ge of
.A\ riulturet l'liverlsity of Florida. (;aiinesville.
--gk i = a Max afl IIaU a'I." M1 cI IC I Laa ia.


AA~a


IBulletin No. 7


New\ Sries



















DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Nathan Mayo. Commissioner of Agriculture Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks. Director. Bureau of im.igmration Tallahassee
Phil. S. Taylor, Advertising Editor................. Tallahassee
John M. Scott, Agricultural Editor............ Gainesville







Sorghum for Silage and Forage
BY JOHN M. SCOTT
Prepared and Published in Co-operation with the College of Agriculture,
University of Florida, Gainesville

T IlE sorgliinn crop has not received the attention it deserves
from Florida farmers. This is doubtless dule to insufficient
appreciation of the qualities of tlhe forage and grain pro-
duced by this plant. and to the cultivation of varieties which
are not the best kinds for the Florida climate. With the present
rapid improvement in stock and greater demand for beef and
dairy products, thle need for proldutive and nutritious forage
crops will be imore keenly felt in the futuree than in tile past.

'LASSIFIC('ATION

It is generally sipl sedl that all of tlie varieties of sorlghium
now in cultivation originated from a single species, which prob-
ably was a native of Africa. The botanical differences which
distinguish the various varieties are of little importance to the
average farmer. blit a Imore practical classification will be used
in this bulletin.
The sorghliins may he divided into three classes: (1) Saccha-
rine sorghuims, or sorgo. (2) nIon-sacchari.ine sorgihums, and (3)
broom corns. The saccharine varieties are characterized by
their tall. leafy stems, which are full of sweet juice. The non-
saccharine varieties,. as a rule. do not grow tall. amn the stalks
do not contain as inimuch sugar as tlie sacchalrie. The broom
corns may he distinguished by their ldry. pithy stalks, and by
their long. loose see(d-heads. ''he seed-heads of the sacecharilne
and non-saccharine varieties differ in size. shape and color.
The saccharine varieties are grown for syrup-making and for
forage. The non-saciharine varieties are grown for either
forage or grain.

SOILS AI)APTEI) FOi SORGIl'.MS

The sorghumins grow well on almost any good land. (round
that is well-suited for growing corn. cotton or vegetables will
give good yields of sorgthunms, citlher as a forage or grain crop.
As a general rule. the sandy pine lands of Florida will produce
more tons of sorghlium silage per acre thaln of corn silage. Tihe
heavy clays and very light sandy soils, however, are not well-
suited for ithe crop.
2' S iri'.






I)EIARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


SILAGE IN GENERAL

It is a well established fact that some form of succulent food
is a desirable addition to the ordinary winter rations for live
stock, and the question arises as to the best and cheapest method
of producing it. In England the farmers depend upon root
crops, but in this country root crops do not seem to be as
satisfactory as other crops. Some people have advocated the
steaming of all feeds, but this method has failed to solve the
problem. The silo has been extensively tried, and has been
found to be the cheapest and best method of curing feed and
keeping it in a good, palatable condition so that it will be rel-
ished by all classes of live stock.

SORGHUM SILAGE
The question which confronts the farmer is, "What crop can
I raise most economically for the silo?" Cowpea hay is known
to be an excellent forage, but the yield Is small and it does not
make a good quality of silage. The same is true with oats, rye
and beggarweed hay. The question finally settles down to the
problem of deciding between corn and sorghum. Chemical
analyses have shown corn silage to be a little richer in total
digestible nutrient than sorghum silage; but sorghum usually
gives a heavier yield of green forage per acre.
AVERAGE PERCENTAGE COMPOSITION OF DIFFERENT
SILAGE CROPS*

('Carbohydrates
SCROP -


Corn. well initured .... 73.7.7 .7 2.1 6.3 15.4 0.8
SI'-rghll n. sweetly .. 77.2 1.6 1.5 6.9 11.9 0.9
.Il'!minest cnam ..... ... 77.6 2.0 1.5 .6 9.7 0.6
S'rghlim and cowpens.. 6(7.7 2.2 2.4 8.5 18.2 1.0

DIGESTIBLE NUTRIENTS OF DIFFERENT SILAGE CROPS**


CROP -- -

(')rn. well nutturdl .. ............ 21.3 1.1 I 15.0 0.7 17.7
Surghumn .............. ... ..... .... 22.8 0.6 11.6 0.5 I 13.3
J.ali *Hienlry and Miirrisin. Feeds and Feeding. 1). 721.
**Henry and Morrison, Feeds and Feeding. p. 742.










r/

P'


Fig. 1. Sorghum like


the above makes good silage.-Courtesy Fla.
Agri. Exp. Station.


Ith is. Iher ;I1~t l 1i)t( (ol td ()l. (tl l t crops for
ATI(.\ hO1r a Iva 1lt'jl.-'t, (I iiig'h 11111 m\' I l ll) I. 1 l;tT rit wf v s r Ojt.. f
"I'M II ill "itllO N'1;11,N(h ll ll(,pli~ltll.
("Illy in ill the 5liulg. A\t Ir thi lust culit? ug. OII rots will Sproutli
and produce ;111()l I rlllll (.,1.1.;\ q- L'111;j*X 11,( III p p1'II iri.Iiii, (
hla t t.1 i hll ti III, pril l,_ liii a c It I a, Li i j lill~ d i aIl ll lillllC o
ble~ Too plant1 till- "w".~11 11111 aftcr a late priw~ll~il r w varly '1\ 11111111f'1'
I nick (luijI h I belel llillvcste il.
tuu l -111r 1 1i1t, I T Il~lj. till' lilt Illl lt b v iltt '1,1 v 11,11n eiie i


FOR-SIL.WE AND FORAGE


1





6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

PLANTING SORGHUM

Sorghum seed may be planted at any time from April 1 to
July 20. When possible, it is advisable to plant early, prefer-
ably from April 1 to 15th, as then the first cutting can generally
be harvested in July, and with favorable conditions a second
cutting may be harvested in October.
The quantity of seed required depends upon the method of
planting. If planted in drills, 15 to 20 pounds of seed will be
required per acre. If sown broadcast, more seed will be needed,
varying from one to two bushels per acre. It is likely that if
planted in rows, a distance of three or three and a half feet
between the rows, and' from two to three inches between the
plants in the drill, will be found the most satisfactory. This
distance will allow cultivation, thus insuring larger yields; and
the cost of harvesting will also be reduced.
The depth of planting sorghum will depend upon the con-
dition of the seed bed at the time. If the seed bed is well pre-
pared and there is plenty of moisture in the ground, then a
half inch to one inch is as deep as the seed should be covered.
But if the soil is very dry and loose the seed may be planted as
deep as from one and a half to two and a half inches.

FERTILIZING

Sorghum is a gross feeder and requires a large quantity of
fertilizer, the amount needed varying with the quality of the
soil. From 400 to 800 pounds of a fertilizer analyzing 4 per-
cent ammonia, 8 percent available phosphoric acid, and 4 per-
cent potash should be used. The ground should be thoroughly
prepared and the fertilizer applied a week or ten days before
planting the seed. If the crop at any time shows signs of need-
ing additional fertilizer, it would be advisable to apply a side
dressing of nitrate of soda at the rate of 150 to 200 pounds
per acre.
When it is planned to harvest a second crop the same year, a
shallow furrow should be thrown away from the sorghum studs
with a small plow immediately after the first cutting. Fertilizer
may then be applied in this furrow and covered by throwing the
furrow back again.
If sorghum is planted after a spring crop of vegetables has
been taken off the ground, fertilizing will not be necessary, as
there will be enough fertilizer left in the soil to produce a good
crop.





SORGHUM FOR SILAGE AND FORAGE 7

CULTIVATION
Too much attention cannot be given to the preparation of the
seed bed and to the cultivation of the growing crop. If the seed
bed is not thoroughly prepared, the result will be poor germina-



I r Ii
















Fig. 2. A good crop of sorghum ready to harvest.

tion, which means a poor stand and a small yield of forage per
acre. Where the seed bed is thoroughly prepared, cultivation
may be started much sooner, as the young plants will not be so
easily covered or pulled out while they are quite small. This
early cultivation will not only keep down weeds, but the stir-
ring of the soil will also tend to hasten the growth of the crop.
Sorghum is a slow-growing crop at first, and the earlier cultiva-
tion begins the more will the growth of the crop he hastened.
SORGIIUM IAY
Aside from being a good crop for silage. well cured sorghum
makes an excellent hay crop. The saccharine varieties perhaps
make a better quality of hay, but even the non-saccharine vari-
eties are almost equal to crab grass hay in feeding value and
give a much larger yield. In fact. nearly twice as much hay
may often be secured from an acre of sorghumli as from the
same area of crab grass. Sorghum hay, when fedi with a good
grain ration, will be found to give good results in the dairy.
In fattening cattle for the market, sorghum hay supplied in
addition to the grain feed will give good results.





DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


PASTURING SORGHUM
Sorghums make a good pasture for all classes of live stock.
Perhaps the saccharine varieties will be found to give the best
results. For pasturing, the seed should be sown a little thicker
than usual, about one and a half bushels per acre. The ground
should be well prepared beforehand. Pasturing may begin when
the plants are only a few inches high; but, for the best results,
the crop should not be pastured until the sorghum is about
one and a half or two feet in height. It has been estimated that
one acre of good sorghum will pasture ten head of cattle for
ten days. If not pastured too closely before the cattle are re-
moved, a second growth can be secured which will furnish ad-
ditional pasturage.
GRAIN
Tests by various experiment stations have shown that the
grain of the non-saccharine varieties of sorghum is of consider-
able importance as a feed. The seeds of the sorghums are very
rich in carbohydrates (fat producing material), but are low
in protein. This, however, is not a serious drawback for Florida,
since the state has an abundance of feed rich in protein, such
as cotton seed meal, peanuts, and velvet beans. Any of these
fed in combination with sorghum seed will give good results
for beef, milk and pork productions.
Comparing the feeding value of Kaffir corn, one of the non-
saccharine varieties of sorghum, with that of corn, it is esti-
mated that 100 pounds of Kaffir corn are equal to 90 pounds
of corn in feeding value. In other words, when corn is worth
$2.25 per hundred, Kaffir corn is worth about $2.00 per hundred
for feeding.
VARIETIES
There are a large number of varieties of sorghum which may
be grown in Florida. Any one of the half dozen given below
should be found desirable.
Amber sorghum is the earliest variety. It may not produce
as heavy a yield of forage as some of the other varieties, but it
will be found satisfactory. It is one of the best to use when
sorghum and cowpeas are sown as a hay crop.
Gooseneck is one of the heaviest producing varieties. It
produces a heavy coarse stalk and for that reason it may not be
very desirable at times.
Orange is another very desirable variety for the production
of silage, dry forage, or seed.
Sumac is another variety just as desirable as the Orange for
general farm planting.









Texas seeded ribbon eaine has heen a very popular variety
for some years. It may be classed as a rather late maturing
variety, but it is a heavy producer of green orange which makes
it desirable for silagle.
Shallu sorghum,. perhaps better known as Egyptian Wheat, is
without doubt one of the best graill pro(ducting varieties of all
the sor"ghumlls suited to Florida. \Where the production of grain
is the main idea, it would he advisable to use Shallu. but as a
producer of silage it is not to be compared to ianll. of the other
variety ies.
There are quitee a number o ()other varieties just las desirable
as those mentioned.
Thle results c(f tlhe test lo sorghuuims ho1th sac;chlarille a nd 1(n1-
saccliariiie anId Rii iii sulllflower as forage art show Iv Ithe


<9A;lr i


00p
A~


Fig. 3. One of the non-saccharine sorghums.-Courtesy Fla. Agri.
Exp. Station.


"MM111'.11 F()R SILAGE AND FOR.WE





10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

following figures.* As shown by these yield records, the large,
medium-to-late-maturing varieties of saccharine sorghums, like
Texas seeded ribbon cane, Japanese Honey and Orange, can be
expected to give the best results for soiling and silage, whereas
the smaller-stemmed, earlier-maturing varieties, like Early
Amber, make more satisfactory hay plants in combination with
cowpeas. The figures follow:
Acre yield, tons
Variety (two cuttings)
254 1 D arso sorg h u m .................................................................... .... 7.0 1
2540 B lack A m b er ......................................................................... 8.03
2544 Honey sorghum ................. ..... ................. 9.63
2534 Freed sorghum ...................................... ......................... 3.12
2538 Sumac sorghum ........................................... ................. 4.48**
2532 D w arf A shburn ............................................................... 4.21
2548 S chrock ........................................ ........ ............................ 7.26
2 5 52 D w a rf J a v a .......................................................................... ..... ....
2549 O range ............................................ ............... ......... 7.94
2528 E arly A m b er ......................................... .... ........................ 4.30
2525 Japanese Honey Drip ........................................ 9.46
2527 E arly O ran g e ...................................................... ....................... 3.45**
2519 Texas seeded ribbon cane ................... ...... 9.55
2521 Red top or sumac .... ............ ................ 6.23
2 5 5 1 J a v a ...................... ................................................................ ....... 3 .2 1 **
2 5 3 5 F ete r ita ..... ............................................................................... ....... 2 .9 9
2550 S p ur F eterita ................................................... ................. 3.86
2522 F eterita-S teck ler .............................................. ............. 3.21
2543 Pink Kafir ......... ................................. ......... 4.30
2539 D aw n K afir ................................................................. 3.62
2542 Sunrise Kafir ............................................................ 5.06
2545 Black Hull Kafir ............................... ................ 5.39
2536 R ed K afir ...................................................................... . ........ 4 .66
2524 White Kafir ................................................ ..... ...... 5.58
2523 Yellow Milo ....... ......... ..... ....... 5.52
2531 Dwarf Yellow Milo ........................................................ 6.09
2547 Manchu Brown Kao:iang ........................................... 1.52**
2537 W h ite K aolian g ............................................ ................ 1.94
2578 E gyptian W heat ............................................................
2533 S h allu ....... ................................ ................ ........... ... 4.92
2546 Dwarf Hegaria ...... ... ... ........... .... ......... 3.87
2553 Evergreen Broom Corn ........ .... .......... 2.70
2517 R ussian Sunflow er ................................................................. 4.07***
From Florida Agricultural Experiment Station annual report, 1923,
p. 34R.
** First cutting lost. *** Only one cutting made.





SORGHUM FOR SILAGE AND FORAGE 11

SORGHUM VARIETY TESTS
"The "results of the sorghum variety test this year, which
included 22 varieties of sorghum, confirm the test of last year,
in that large, late-maturing varieties continue to give heaviest
yield. Corn was used as a check in this test, and occurred four
times throughout the test. Sunflowers were also included.
























"It seems that on Norfolk sandy soil good varieties of
-a--










sorghum will out-yield corn, and that sunflowers do not yield
enough to be considered a possible silage crop under conditions
of the test. Honey sorghum, a sweet variety, was the highest
yielder. The grain sorghums made a good crop of grain, but
it was severely damaged by disease, apparently due to high
humidity. Of the grain sorghums, Shallu seemed to be the
miost satisfactory under Florida conditions."*
"The so-rghum variety test for 1924 included 16 varieties
grown on high pine land, Norfolk sandy soil. The highest yield-
ing variety was Honey sorghum, S. P. I6605, which produced
9.43 tons of silage per acre in one cutting. The second growth
was frosted, so no yields were taken."**
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station annual report. 1924, p. 28R.
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station annual report, 192I.





DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


"The Indian corn plant never gives satisfactory returns if
once its growth is checked. The sorghums may cease growing
and their leaves shrivel during periods of excessive heat and
drought: yet when these conditions pass and the soil becomes
moist again, they quickly resume growth. This quality gives
to this group of plants great worth and vast importance as
grain crops for the southern portion of the semi-arid plains
region. Their value in this section is well shown by the fact
that between 1899 and 1921 the acreage in the United States
of grain sorghums increased from 266,000 to 4,652,000 acres.
The yield of grain in 1921 was 115,110,000 bushels."*

GRAIN SORGHUM AS FEED

"The different sorghums are similar in composition, carrying
about as much nitrogen-free extract as corn, slightly more
crude protein, and 1.5 to 2.0 percent less fat. Supplemented
with protein-rich feeds, they are excellent for all classes of
animals. The grain sorghums are well liked by stock, though
they are somewhat less palatable than corn. Their feeding
value averages about 90 percent that of corn per pound."**

FEEDING VALUE OF SILAGE

"A feeding experiment was carried out at the Kentucky
Agricultural Experiment Station in 1918-19, comparing corn
silage with sorghum silage. The steers fed corn silage made
a daily gain of 2.15 pounds per head. Those fed sorghum silage
averaged 1.95 pounds of gain per head daily, notwithstanding
that one steer in the sorghum lot was off feed for nine days.
A net profit of approximately $20 per steer was realized in
both lots with the silage valued at $8 per ton, which value gave
a gross return of $78.32 per acre for the cornfield and $136 per
acre for the sorghum field."***
"Feeds and Feeding," Henry and Morrison, p. 169.
**"Feeds and Feeding," Henry and Morrison, p. 170.
*** Farmers' Bulletin No. 1158, "Growing and Utilizing Sorghums for
Forage."




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