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Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 628
Title: Production of sorghum forage and grain in South Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027084/00001
 Material Information
Title: Production of sorghum forage and grain in South Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 28 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Boyd, Frederick T ( Frederick Tilghman ), 1913-
Green, Victor E
Chapman, H. L ( Herbert L. ), 1923-
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1961
 Subjects
Subject: Sorghum -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 26-28.
Statement of Responsibility: F.T. Boyd, V.E. Green, Jr., and H.L. Chapman, Jr.
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027084
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000927373
oclc - 18305058
notis - AEN8091

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Full Text



Bulletin 628


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA .-
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
J. R. BECKENBACH, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA








Production of Sorghum Forage

and Grain in South Florida

F. T. BOYD, V. E. GREEN, JR., AND H. L. CHAPMAN, JR.




Fig. 1.-Cutting leafy sorghum with a field chopper. This equipment
may be used when sorghum is fed green or stored in a silo.


January 1961



















CONTENTS
Page


IN TRODUCTION ..................... ....... ........ .. ..... .... ..... .... .... 3

GENERAL SORGHUM CHARACTERISTICS -..........- ......... ....--. .....-- 3

DISEASES AND INSECTS .......... ...... ..................... ...... ..... 4

CHARACTERISTICS SUITABLE TO FLORIDA CONDITIONS ..-............................... 5

EFFECT OF RATE AND TIME OF SEEDING ....... --. .. ............-- .......- (

EFFECTS OF SOIL CONDITIONS AND WATER TABLE LEVELS .....................-.... 8

SORGHUM PRODUCTION ON SANDY SOILS --....-....... ...- ..-....-..- ......-.... 8

FERTILITY RESPONSE OF SORGHUM VARIETIES ON SANDY SOILS .................... 10

SORGHUM PRODUCTION ON ORGANIC SOILS ......-...-... ........... ... ......... 10

EFFECT OF STAGE OF GROWTH ON FORAGE YIELDS AND PROTEIN CONTENTS 13

EFFECT OF BIRD RESISTANCE ON GRAIN YIELD .................. ................ 18

PRUSSIC ACID OR CYANIDE POISONING FROM SORGHUMS ................................ 21

FEEDING VALUE OF SORGHUMS FOR LIVESTOCK ........................................ 23

POINTS TO CONSiDER IN GROWING A SORGHUM CROP IN SOUTH FLORIDA.... 25

LITERATURE CITED ..... --....... .. ... ....................... .... 26









Production of Sorghum Forage and Grain

in South Florida

F. T. BoYD, V. E. GREEN, JR., AND H. L. CHAPMAN, JR. 1

In recent years over 20 million acres of sorghum have been
grown annually in the United States. About 80 percent of this
acreage has been grown for grain while the remainder has been
used for silage, forage and syrup. Grain sorghum, with a pro-
duction of over 600 million bushels in 1958, was exceeded only
by wheat, oats and corn. Although very little acreage has been
devoted to sorghum production in Florida, sorghums are poten-
tially efficient and nutritious feeds for beef and dairy cattle in
South Florida. As a feed, grain sorghum compares favorably
with corn.
Forage and grain types of sorghum have been investigated
by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station for over 30
years. Throughout this period several forage varieties yielded
well on both organic and mineral soils. Progress in successful
grain production was curtailed by foliage diseases, bird depre-
dations and prevalence of mold in the grain heads. Recent ob-
servations indicate considerable success in alleviating these trou-
bles with improved grain sorghum varieties.

GENERAL SORGHUM CHARACTERISTICS
In the United States 4 general classes or types of sorghum
have been listed essentially as follows (10, 18):
(1) Sorgo (Sorghum vulgare var. saccharatumn (L.) Boerl.)
-sweet, syrup or saccharine type.
(2) Grain sorghum (Sorghum ulgare Pers.)
(a) Tall
(b) Dwarf or combine type.
(3) Broomcorn (Sorghum vulgare var. technicum).
(4) Grass sorghums
(a) Annual-Sudangrass (Sorghum vulgare var. sudan-
ese (Piper) Hitchc.)
1Agronomist, Plantation Field Laboratory, Fort Lauderdale; Associate
Agronomist and Associate Animal Nutritionist, Everglades Experiment
Station, Belle Glade, respectively.
The writers are indebted to G. D. Ross and R. M. Fliehs for assistance
in collection of field data; to W. H. Speir and J. W. Randolph for drawings,
and to H. P. Ruffolo for photography.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


(b) Perennial-Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense
(L.) Pers.) and Columbusgrass (Sorghum al-
mum Parodi).
Only johnsongrass and columbusgrass have rhizomes and are
classified as perennials. However, sorghum differs from corn
by tending to ratoon or produce successive regrowth crops, es-
pecially under tropical weather conditions.
All sorghums contain dhurrin, a cyanogenetic glucoside which
can produce cyanide or prussic acid poisoning in livestock. The
levels of cyanide content vary with variety, stage of growth and
soil fertility status.
Grain sorghums vary widely in physical characteristics. Seed
color ranges from white to black or red. Varieties may be awned
or awnless, tall or dwarfed, sensitive or insensitive to photo-
period, and may have loose, drooping panicles or compact, erect
heads, pithy or juicy stalks, high or low resistance to diseases
and stemmy or leafy stalks. Sorghums are about 95 percent
self-pollinated, but will cross freely with other types or varieties
when grown adjacent to them. This heterogeneity of characters
offers a wide selection for combination to the sorghum plant
breeder, depending on the location and purpose for which the
crop is to be utilized (13).

DISEASES AND INSECTS
The high relative humidities and temperatures of South
Florida are conducive to development of foliage diseases in
sorghum. Seedling blights and root rots (especially those caused
by Pythium spp.) reduce stand and vigor of sorghum plants (10).
Kernel smut (Sphacelotheca sorghi (Lk.) Clint.) also has been
troublesome in grain heads of certain sorghum varieties in South
Florida. Sorghum rust (Puccinia purpurea Cke.) attacks Leoti
Red, especially when grain heads are nearly mature. Varieties
recommended for use in South Florida must have a high degree
of disease resistance.
Insect pests which have been troublesome to sorghum in
South Florida are the yellow sugarcane aphid (Sipha flava
Forbes), fall armyworm (Laphygma frugiperda J. E. Smith)
and mole-crickets. Insecticides have not been necessary to con-
trol aphids or fall armyworms in South Florida, although there
has been considerable feeding by these insects. Chlordane-bran
bait applications after seeding have been necessary to prevent
serious reduction in sorghum stands by mole-crickets.






Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida 5

CHARACTERISTICS SUITABLE TO FLORIDA CONDITIONS
In South Florida desirable plant characteristics include a
strong stalk, leafy, disease-resistant foliage and loose or spread-
ing panicles with large oval or round kernels having spiked or
awned lemmas covering the grain. These characteristics allow
the seed to mature under highly humid conditions without mold-
ing or being devastated by birds. Varieties which best combine
these characteristics include Leoti Red and a strain of Cuban
Guinea corn. However, neither of these varieties has a particu-
larly large or heavy head, which indicates the need for an ag-
gressive breeding program to combine high yielding ability with
these functional plant characteristics.
Sorghums with a high degree of resistance to foliage insects
and diseases may be successfully grown in South Florida with-
out using insecticides or fungicides, thus decreasing production
expense and eliminating commercial poison residues.
In South Florida several cuttings of sorghum can be made
from an original planting unless maturity is too advanced when
harvesting. Cultivation and fertilization are necessary prior to
each successive growth of this crop. The yield of each cutting
is affected by the amount of soil moisture, status of available
nutrients, temperature, day length, stage of growth and varietal
characteristics. Varieties differ in sensitivity to variations in
temperature and day-length (photoperiod). Cuban Guinea and
Leoti Red sorghum are among those varieties least affected by
day lengths, while Shallu (Egyptian wheat) and Sugar Drip
are among those most affected by photoperiod. Therefore, to
make the best use of any sorghum variety for grain or forage
its response to different seasonal environments should be con-
sidered.
The highest production of palatable and digestible feed is
obtained when sorghum is harvested before many of the leaves
have died from disease or advanced stages of maturity. Not all
of the grain may be mature, but there will be less loss when used
for either silage or soilage (cutting and feeding green).
For silage or soilage, the highest yielding variety may not
always be preferred. Most forage harvesters are not adapted
to efficiently harvest sorghums yielding over 15 to 20 tons per
acre. Frequent cutting will produce feed of higher protein con-
tent and cause fewer mechanical difficulties in harvesting equip-
ment. Leoti Red and Cuban Guinea varieties are medium forage
producers and can be handled with presently-available equip-






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


ment. Sugar Drip, Sart and Tracy sorghums produced too much
height during midsummer for convenient harvesting, but when
planted in late September, at Fort Lauderdale, matured earlier
and were short enough for mechanical harvesting equipment.

EFFECT OF RATE AND TIME OF SEEDING
Trials at Fort Lauderdale have shown that temperatures
are suitable for planting sorghum between February 1 and No-
vember 1. Plantings made between November 1 and January
31 are slow to germinate and develop satisfactory seedling
growth. Likewise, ratoon growth of sorghum is poor immedi-
ately following cuttings of mature plants during these winter
months. For this reason, a large acreage should be planted in
late October to make maximum forage for January and early
February. Sorghum grows faster in summer than winter, and
should be ensiled to furnish supplementary feed for February
and March. Judicious spacings of plantings and harvests will
provide the best supply of nutritious and palatable forage during
the year. On the organic soils, satisfactory yields have been
produced from plantings made between February 15 and Oc-
tober 15.
Tests in Nebraska have shown that sorghum planted in soil
with an average daily temperature of 58 degrees required 14
days to emerge, while seed planted in soil of 74 degrees required
only 6 days to emerge. Mean soil temperatures in South Florida
usually range between 60 and 70 degrees during the midwinter
months and account for slower germination during this period.
Effect of planting date on height of Sart sorghum was deter-
mined at Belle Glade, Florida, during the 1957-59 seasons. Re-
sults given in Table 1 show the April 8 planting most conducive
to delayed maturity and increased height.
Planting rate varies with variety, seed size and the purpose
for which the crop is to be used. Ordinarily, denser plantings
are favored for forage. Drilling orghums in rows is preferable
to broadcast seedings in southern Florida. Row plantings fa-
cilitate cultivation, subsequent row fertilization and bedding for
adequate drainage. Alternate spacing of 42-inch and 30-inch
rows on sandy soils has been found advantageous to overcome
difficulties in deepening furrows for drainage in the row middles.
Furrows are deepened only in the 42-inch centers and fertilizers
are applied in the 30-inch middles.







Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


One pound of sorghum seed per acre roughly equals 1 seed
per foot of row of average sorghum varieties. Ordinarily at
least 10 seeds per foot of row are necessary to give a satisfactory
stand. Fungicide and insecticide seed treatments influence final
stand. Fungicide treatments have given a 44 percent increase
in stand, while a combination fungicide-insecticide treatment has
resulted in a 69 percent better stand.

TABLE 1.-EFFECT OF TIME OF PLANTING SART SORGHUM ON THE HEIGHT
OF PLANT AND DAYS TO FLOWERING, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, 1957-59.

Planting Date Height, Inches Days to Flower


February 18, 1957, '59 .. 5 56
March 3, 1958 ............. 84 64
April 8, 1958 ............. 108 74
June 3, 1958 ........... 84 97
July 1, 1958 ................... 84 85
August 1, 1958 ........... 54 81
September 1, 1958 ....... 48 70
October 1, 1958 ............. 42 66


In trials at Fort Lauderdale (Table 2) Leoti Red and Cuban
Guinea sorghLms were grown at different planting rates. No
significant difference in forage yield was found due to stand at
the rates tested.

TABLE 2.-EFFECT OF STAND ON YIELD OF SORGHUM GRAIN AND FORAGE,
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, 1959*.

Leoti Red Sorghum Cuban Guinea Sorghum

Plants Fresh Yields Plants Fresh Yields Lbs. Dry
per Sq. Ft. Tons/A. per Sq. Ft. Tons A. Grain/A.

1.8 7.83 3.4 11.22 3090
2.6 9.06 5.0 11.46 3065
3.4 10.21 5.5 12.22 3240

*Date of plarting-February 20, 1959.
Date of cutting green forage-May 8, 1959.
Date of harvesting ripened grain-June 9, 1959.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


EFFECTS OF SOIL CONDITIONS AND
WATER TABLE LEVEL

Sorghums were introduced to this continent from Africa
and southern Asia and have been widely grown in the southern
plains in this country. Ability to withstand periods of drought
has caused them to be planted in areas too dry for corn. Grain
sorghum (19) may be grown on well-drained sandy, clay or or-
ganic soils with a pH of 5.0 to 8.5, and will tolerate salinity.
Although tolerant to drought and adverse soil conditions, sor-
ghums respond to plentiful supplies of moisture and high fer-
tility levels.
Table 3 shows results of a trial (28) with sorghum grown
on sandy soil at different depths to water table. Guinea corn
(a sorghum from Peru) yielded best with a 24-inch water table.
Sorghum grown with a 12-inch water table yielded about 10
percent of the forage weight produced at the 24-inch level. Sor-
ghum grown with a 36-inch water table yielded 96 percent as
much forage as from the 24-inch plot. Protein yields per acre
were slightly higher on the 36-inch plots. These tests were con-
ducted in duplicate in 5' x 5' x 9' concrete lysimeter tanks, sur-
rounded by guard-row sorghum to reduce border effects.

TABLE 3.-EFFECT OF DEPTH TO WATER TABLE ON YIELD OF GREEN FORAGE,
DRY MATTER, AND PROTEIN CONTENT OF SORGHUM, FT. LAUDERDALE,
FLORIDA, 1954.
Depth to Green I Dry | Protein
Water Forage Matter Percent Yield
Table (Pounds (Pounds Protein (Pounds
Inches per Acre) | per Acre) per Acre)
12 2,900 765 4.31 33
24 28,400 8,690 5.51 479
36 27,350 6,645 7.63 507

Planted: May 19, 1954.
Harvested: August 27, 1954.
Variety: Guinea corn sorghum from Peru.

SORGHUM PRODUCTION ON SANDY SOILS

Green forage production of both grain and forage types of
sorghum grown on Davie fine sand at Plantation Field Labora-
tory, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was determined by cutting and
weighing replicated plots at 4 successive dates during the 1958
season. Samples were taken for protein and dry matter deter-







Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


mination. The land upon which this sorghum was grown was
treated before planting with 870 pounds per acre of Florida rock
phosphate, 870 pounds finely-ground dolomite and 730 pounds
8-8-8 fertilizer containing 1 unit each of manganese and copper
oxides. Sidedressing applications of fertilizer were made after
the second and third cuttings as follows: June 6, 1,200 pounds
15-0-14 per acre; and September 2, 400 pounds 8-8-8 per acre.

TABLE 4.-FORAGE PRODUCTION OF SORGHUM VARIETIES, PLANTATION FIELD
LABORATORY, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, PLANTED JANUARY 30, 1958.

Date of Harvest
April 29 June 6 IAug. 26 Nov. 25 Total
Variety Tons per
Variety Tons Fresh Wt. per Acre ATo er


Sugar Drip ................ 22.8 6.2 18.1 9.6 56.7
Tracy ........................ 26.2 7.8 17.3 5.4 56.7
Honey ........................ 26.3 3.5 10.9 10.7 51.4
Kansas Orange ........ 20.4 6.6 18.9 4.1 50.0
African Millet .......... 21.3 5.8 15.7 5.7 48.5
Sumac 6550 .............. 26.9 6.8 12.6 2.0 48.3
Sumac 1712 .............. 20.6 6.4 15.8 5.3 48.1
Med. Dw. Sumac ...... 18.4 8.2 16.5 6.0 49.1
Sorghum almum ..... 13.7 5.6 15.3 6.6 41.2
S. almum (N.Z.) ...... 14.7 6.8 13.7 5.4 40.6
Atlas ......................... 18.7 7.4 11.3 3.1 40.5
Cuban Guinea .......... 13.0 4.9 14.3 3.9 36.1
Green Leaf Sudan.... 18.1 5.7 9.6 4.1 37.5
Sweet Sudan ............ 17.4 4.8 9.9 3.7 35.8
Leoti Red ................ 16.5 4.5 9.4 4.9 35.3
Sart .......................... 12.1 3.3 13.3 3.5 32.2
Std. Bk. Kafir .......... 14.0 3.9 10.1 3.3 31.3
R.S. 610 ...................... 15.3 4.3 7.7 3.6 30.9
Texas 620 .................. 13.3 5.3 7.2 4.2 30.0
Haas Hegari ........... 12.7 4.6 10.3 2.6 30.2
Black Amber ........... 16.1 4.4 6.9 2.2 29.6
Texas 601 ................. 15.8 4.0 7.3 2.7 29.8
DeKalb ....... ....... 12.8 4.4 7.8 3.8 28.8
Texas 660 ....... 12.9 4.7 6.9 4.2 28.7
Texas 590 ......... 14.5 4.7 6.2 3.3 28.7
DeKalb F52 ............. 11.1 3.6 9.0 3.4 27.1
Redbine 60 ...... 12.9 3.6 9.2 2.1 27.8
Texas 611 ............. 11.7 3.2 7.9 4.7 27.5
Kafir 60 -....... ......... 14.5 3.6 6.6 2.0 26.7
DeKalb C44A .......... 13.9 2.6 7.3 2.7 26.7
DeKalb E56A ....... 12.7 4.8 6.6 1.9 26.0
Combine 7078 ....... 10.1 4.2 7.9 1.8 24.0
Reg. Hegari ............ 8.8 34 9.0 2.6 23.8
Early Hegari .. 9.9 3.0 8.7 2.0 23.6
Plainsman ........... 13.0 3.0 4.2 2.3 22.5
R.S. 650 ........... 10.0 4.1 4.7 2.4 21.8
Martin ....... ........ 10.2 3.5 5.2 2.6 21.5
Com. Sudan .......... 12.9 2.6 4.0 0.6 20.1
W estland ........... 12.0 2.4 2.8 1.7 18.9
Redbine 66 ............. 8.6 2.3 i 4.0 2.7 17.6
DeKalb F 62A ........ 8.3 2.7 4.1 2.2 17.3
Double Dwarf Milo. 8.9 1.0 4.2 2.5 16.6







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


As shown in Table 4, yields of June 6 and November 25 were low,
probably due to insufficient fertilizer. Highest total yields were
made by the sorgo varieties and the improved sorgrass varieties.

FERTILITY RESPONSE OF SORGHUM VARIETIES
ON SANDY SOILS
Leoti Red and Cuban Guinea sorghums were planted Febru-
ary 3, 1959. Twelve fertilizer mixtures were compared alone
and in combination with high calcic and dolomitic lime. All
treatments were in triplicate in 9 x 20 foot plots on Arzell sand.
Water table levels were maintained approximately 2 feet below
the soil surface. No fungicides or insecticides were applied dur-
ing growth and cultivation was done only to control weeds. Row
spacings were alternated 42 and 30 inches to facilitate use of
equipment and allow provision for surface drainage.
Data in Table 5 show the highest production of sorghum
forage by use of 1,000 pounds per acre of an 8-12-12 mixture
containing 1 unit each of copper and manganese oxides. High
calcic limestone was as beneficial as dolomite under the condi-
tions of this experiment. Highest grain yields were obtained
by using a 1,000-pound application of 4-12-12 containing 1 unit
each of copper and manganese oxides (Table 6).
Yield data (Tables 5 and 6) showed highly significant differ-
ences among varieties, fertilizers and lime treatments. Forage
yield of sorghums showed an interaction between variety and
lime treatments. In grain production, the kind of fertilizer
response was dependent upon the variety measured.

SORGHUM PRODUCTION ON ORGANIC SOILS
Sorghum variety and stage of growth trials were conducted
on peaty muck soil at the Everglades Experiment Station, Belle
Glade, during the 1957 and 1958 seasons. The test area had
been in cultivation for about 30 years and in corn for the last
15 years. Fertilizer was applied to raise the fertility level to
that established as optimum for the growth of field corn. An
application of 600 pounds 0-15-5 with 0.3 percent BO:3 was used
in 1957, while a 500-pound mixture of 0-8-16 containing 1 unit
each of CuO and MnO, 1/2 unit ZnO and 5 pounds aldrin was ap-
plied in 1958. In 1957 all varieties were planted February 18
and harvested after 110 days on June 10. In 1958, 45 varieties
were planted March 3-4 and were harvested 8, 10 and 12 weeks








TABLE 5.-EFFECT OF FERTILIZATION AND LIME TREATMENTS OF SANDY SOIL ON FORAGE YIELDS OF 2 SORGHUM VARIETIES,
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, 1959.


Fertility
Treatment *




4-4-4 ......... .
4-4-8 .... ... .....
4-4-12 .. ...
4-8-12 ......
4-12-12 ...........
8-4-4 ...... ......
8-8-8 ... .. ....
8-12-12 ... .
12-4-4 .................
12-8-8 ....... ....
12-12-12 ..........
12-12-12 ..........
(No Minors) .


Average Yield
(Tons/A) ..


Leoti Red Sorghum Cuban Gui
High Mean
No Lime Dolomite Calcic Yield/A No Lime Dolomite

Tons Fresh Forage per Acre

3.84 4.08 5.40 4.44 2.20 2.32
5.72 6.48 5.08 5.7( 3.00 3.32
4.04 4.60 4.44 4.3( 2.44 1.(64
..... 6.00 6.20 5.52 5.91 3.20 3.00
6.3(; 8.56 6.52 7.15 4.48 3.48
4.(4 5.32 4.28 4.75 4.16 4.04
0* r 1 r7 A in 9 ) I n [ A lQ I r 5nA


7.64 6.48
5.01 4.3
5.81 3.5(
6.57 4.48

5.97 3.72


5.86 5.87
I


6.(;8
3.64
3.7(6
4.84

3.32



3.76


3.90


nea Sorghum
High
Calcic


Date of Planting: February 3, 1959.
Date of Cutting: May 5, 1959.
All fertilizers were applied at 1000 pounds per acre and contained 1 unit each of copper and manganese oxides except where "no minors" is indi-
cated. Limestones were applied at rates of 1500 pounds per acre.


Mean
Yield/A



2.43
3.41
2.64
3.85
4.53
3.96
5.11
6.92
3.91
4.00
5.05

3.61



4.12


.





..


5.64
3.(68
5.60
7.6;0
3.72
4.68
5.84

3.80



4.70











TABLE 6.-EFFECT OF FERTILIZATION AND LIME TREATMENTS OF SANDY SOIL ON GRAIN YIELDS OF
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, 1959.


2 SORGHUM VARIETIES,


Fertility
Treatment *




4-4-4 ............................
4-4-8 ............................
4-4-12 .........................
4-8-12 ..-....................
4-12-12 .......................
8-4-4 ...........................
8-8-8 ............. ..............
8-12-12 ....................
12-4-4 ......... ...... ...
12-8-8 ........................
12-12-12 ......... ........
12-12-12
(No Minors) .......


Average Yield
(Pounds/A) .........

Date of Planting:
Date of Harvest:


Leoti Red Sorghum


No Lime Dolomite


968
807
1,022
1,892
1,802
1,291
1,129
1,883
941
1,184
1,318

1,856



1,341


1,129
1,210
1,210
1,937
2,125
1,129
1,641
1,318
1,237
1,560
1,695

1,991



1,515


High | Mean
Calcic | Yield/A


Pounds

1,399
968
1,829
1,856
2,313
968
1,372
1,856
1,506
1,695
1,991

2,071



1,652


Grain per .

1,165
995
1,354
1,895
2,080
1,129
1,381
1,686
1,228
1,480
1,668

1,973



1,503


No Lime

Acre

1,022
1,533
1,102
1,695
1,991
1,372
1,856
2,367
1,426
1,910
2,098

1,688



1,670


Cuban Guinea

Dolomite



1,426
1,695
887
1,372
2,098
1,668
2,367
3,067
1,755
2,421
2,448

1,695



1,910


Sorghum
High
Calcic



1,426
1,426
1,883
2,018
3,739
1,856
2,582
2,286
2,071
2,260
2,340

2,313



2,183


Mean
Yield/A



1,292
1,551
1,290
1,695
2,609
1,632
2,268
2,573
1,757
2,197
2,295

1,892



1,921


February 3, 1959.
May 19 1959.


All fertilizers were applied at 1000 pounds per acre and contained 1 unit each of copper and manganese oxides except where "no minors" is indi-
cated. Limestones were applied at rates of 1500 pounds per acre.






Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


after planting. Production data from these variety trials are
given in Tables 7 and 8.
As a general rule, 1 ton of dry matter per acre was produced
from each foot of growth from the soil surface to the base of
the seed head of sorghum varieties in this area. Permitting the
plants to mature resulted in material averaging about 27 per-
cent dry matter and about 8 percent crude protein, dry basis.
When planted in March, the sorgos can be expected to grow an
average of 1 inch per day until heading. From the sixth week
until heading, the varieties averaged 11 inches of growth per
week.
Grain yields up to 3 tons per acre have been attained on ex-
perimental plots that did not suffer from bird depredation. This
is equivalent to a 107-bushel corn crop.
Highest forage yields for 3 months' growth were obtained
from the sorgo varieties Wiley, Guinea Corn, Sugar Drip, Honey
and Kansas Orange. Most of the other varieties tested gave
satisfactory yields; all gave growth sufficient to require row-
crop attachments to the standard forage choppers to facilitate
harvesting.

EFFECT OF STAGE OF GROWTH ON FORAGE YIELDS
AND PROTEIN CONTENTS
The effect of growth stage of sorghums on yields and crude
protein contents was determined in trials on sandy soil at Fort
Lauderdale and peaty muck soil at Belle Glade. Sorghums gen-
erally were highest in protein content at the earliest growth
stages. In 1 trial, sorghum varieties were planted October 24,
1958, on sandy soil and cut when 60, 77, 103 and 116 days old.
At 60 days Shallu averaged only 3.0 feet in height, while Leoti
Red, Gl and Cuban Guinea were each 4.7 feet tall. The protein
content of Shallu at this stage (Table 9) was 15.31 percent dry
weight, while 4 other sorghum varieties averaged 13.08 percent
protein. Pearlmillet at an average of 4.5 feet had a protein con-
tent of 17.94 percent, while Sweet sudangrass at a height of
3.7 feet had 16.19 percent protein. After 116 days of growth
Shallu contained 9.19 percent protein; the 4 other sorghums
averaged 6.37, pearlmillet 9.01 and Sweet Sudangrass 9.80 per-
cent protein.
Sorghum and millet varieties were planted on Everglades peat
soil March 4, 1958, and harvested 56, 70 and 84 days later. The










TABLE 7.-FORAGE, GRAIN AND PROTEIN YIELD OF SORGHUM, MILLET AND SUDANGRASS VARIETIES GROWN ON
ORGANIC SOIL, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, 1957.


Planted February 18, 1957

Harvested June 10, 1957


Hybrid Grain Sorghum

1. Texas 590 ..................................
2. Texas 601 ...............................
3. R .S. 610 ................... ............. -.-
4. Texas 611 ..........................
5. Texas 620 ...............
6. R .S. 650 ....... ........
7. Texas 660 ...................

Open Pollinated Grain Sorghum

8. Early Hegari ................ ....
9. Regular Hegari ... ... ............
10. Standard Blackhull Kafir ......
11. Haas H egari ..............................

Combine Grain Sorghum


Plainsman .......
Redbine 60 ........._...
Redbine 66 ............
Combine 7078 ........
W estland .............
DD Yellow Sooner
M artin .................-


Days
to
Heading


Protein
Content
Entire Stalk, I
Dry Basis
percent


Grain Yield
lbs. per acre
@ 15.5%
H2O





6200
5800
*
6000




2300
2300
*


5300
5500

4600
5100
4500
6000


. 68
. 68
.. 68


Yield, Tons
Green
Weight



10.2
9.7
12.8
16.6
15.1
13.8
15.3



8.9
8.2
16.1
9.6


12.2
14.0
12.8
8.5
10.6
10.8
13.3


Forage
Percent
Dry
Matter



26.53
32.31
26.81
27.34
27.58
32.14
19.34



25.97
28.20
25.62
28.69


28.37
26.87
29.35
29.76
29.28
29.65
28.04


SOUTH FLORIDA


Yield, Tons
Dry Wt.
at 10%



3.0
3.6
4.0
5.1
4.6
5.0
3.3



2.6
2.6
4.6
3.1










Planted February 18, 1957

Harvested June 10, 1957


Sweet Sorghum (Sorgo)

19. Atlas Sorgo ........ .........
20. Sumac 1712
21. Kansas Orange .. ..........
22. Leoti Red ....... .........
23. Sugar Drip ........ ..
24. African Millet ...
25. Black Amber .......
26. Honey Sorgo ...... ....
27. Tracy Sorgo ...... .. .. ...
28. Sart Sorgo .............
29. Sumac 6550 ..... ..... ..
30. K afir 60 ............. .. ........
31. Medium Dwarf Sumac ....

Sudangrass

:34. Sweet Sudan .......... ......
35. Greenleaf Sudan .... .........
36. Common Sudan ......................
37. Perennial Sudan (Columbus-
grass) or Sorghum almum..


TABLE 7.-Continued.
Protein
Days Content Grain Yield Forage
to Entire Stalk, lbs. per acre Yield, Tons Percent
Heading Dry Basis @ 15.5c, Green Dry
percent H O Weight Matter



77 6.04 17.3 29.34
-8.40 1700 22.7 27.64
80 8.91 3600 19.9 22.50
68 7.09 3000 15.2 22.22
86 8.95 1300 27.3 19.66
86 7.44 1200 22.9 21.60
59 6.13 4500 7.6 31.60
80 6.56 1700 28.2 17.75
86 5.8( 18.2 24.82
59 8.40 4(00 12.4 22.50
77 6.30 5200 25.2 21.20
(;8 8.14 5100 14.2 24.22
68 8.40 6200 21.6 25.)4


68
78
59

59


9.45
8.58
7.9(

6.91


11.4 24.20
10.6 18.20
6.1 35.82

13.9 31.50


Yield, Tons
Dry Wt.
at 10;,



5.7
7.0


3.1
2.2
2.4

4.8


* Yi(lds are not recorded whcre h, ird damage exceeded 30 percent.






TABLE 8.-FORAGE AND PROTEIN YIELDS OF SORGHUM VARIETIES HARVESTED AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF GROWTH WITH GRAIN
YIELDS FROM GRAIN SORGHUMS AND SYRUP SORGHUMS, RESPECTIVELY, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, 1958. (YIELD CALCULATED AT
10% MOISTURE CONTENT; PROTEIN CALCULATIONS ON DRY-WEIGHT BASIS.)


Planted March 3-4, 1958




Hybrid Grain Sorghums
1. Texas 590 ........................
2. Texas 601 .......................
3. R .S. 610 ........................
4. Texas 611 ........................
5. Texas 620 ........................
6. R.S. 650 ........................
7. Texas 660 ........................
38. DeKalb C44A ............
39. DeKalb D50A ...............
40. DeKalb E56A ..............
41. DeKalb F62A ...............
42. DeKalb F81 ....................

Open-Pollinated Grain
Sorghums
8. Early Hegari .................
9. Regular Hegari .........
10. Std. Blkhl. Kafir .......
11. Haas Hegari ............. .
44. Guinea Corn ................

Combine Grain
Sorghums
12. Plainsman ..................
13. Redbine 60 ......................
14. Redbine 66 ....................
15. Combine 7078 ..............
16. Westland .............
17. D.D. Yel. Sooner .........
18. Martin ............... ......


Days
Height to
in. Head-
ing


58
52
62
55
58
58
59
45
54
54
49
65



54
55
71
54
84



55
58
56
41
48
45
58


64
67
66
66
65
65
65
64
62
64
64
62



56
57
75
57
69


65
64
64
71
67
62
68


8 weeks
Yield] Prot. Prot.
Tons % Lbs/A.


1.2 17.94 441
1.7 16.36 553
1.5 16.80 511
1.3 14.26 374
1.9 13.13 496
1.3 17.59 450
1.5 12.25 363
1.5 15.84 478
0.8 17.06 280
1.4 14.79 411
1.4 13.83 384
1.3 8.84 226



1.2 13.39 313
1.6 13.39 423
1.3 15.93 405
1.2 11.73 274
1.2 11.90 274



1.2 19.25 470
1.5 18.11 551
1.8 17.85 628
1.4 19.34 557
1.4 17.59 507
0.9 13.74 236
1.6 15.40 490


Age at Cutting

10 weeks
Yield Prot. Prot.
Tons % Lbs/A.


3.8 13.83 1,051
4.0 11.73 941
5.0 8.75 882
4.7 7.18 671
4.7 8.75 828
4.0 7.26 582
4.3 10.33 895
3.1 10.59 663
3.8 10.68 818
4.7 9.54 887
3.6 9.01 652
3.5 7.18 507


3.6
4.7
4.8
3.3
3.6
3.7
4.6


7.26
7.85
9.28
7.53
10.59



13.83
10.15
12.69
13.13
14.09
9.54
10.50


597
589
711
602
1,144


993
946
1,208
869
1,014
700
972


Yield
Tons


4.7
5.9
5.9
5.8
5.7
5.6
6.0
6.0
4.2
6.2
4.9
5.7



4.8
5.7
6.2
4.9
7.5



6.2
6.3
6.9
4.7
6.3
4.5
6.2 _


1


7.61
7.70
7.26
8.22



12.43
10.33
9.28
9.01
11.20
5.69
9.01


866
955
709
1,240


1,546
1,394
1,273
854
1,407
514
1,119


2260

1490
2240


SGrain
IYield
12 weeks Lbs/A.
Prot. Prot. @
% Lbs/A. 15.5':*


9.89 928 3240
10.33 1,223 2650
7.26 858
8.05 926
9.80 1,111
8.14 908
10.15 1,226
9.80 1,168 2510
7.88 663
8.14 1,004 3400
7.09 693 3100
4.64 511



7.79 1 740 1780







TABLE 8.-Continued


Planted March 3-4, 1958



Sweet Sorghums

19. A tlas ..................
20. Sumac 1712 ......
21. Kansas Orange .....
22. Leoti Red .........
23. Sugiardrip ..........
24. African Millet .....
25. Black Amber ....
26. H oney ...............
27. Tracy .................... ..
28. Sart ............. .
29. Kafir 6550 ............
30. Kafir 60 ...................
31. Med. DW Sumac ...
45. W iley ..........................

Sud angrass-Sorgrass

34. Sw eet ........................ ....
35. Greenleaf ................ ..
36. Common ................
37. Sorghum almum .......
43. S. almum (NZ) ........


Height
in.





84
71
)90
84
)90
84
74
84
84
84
84
54
84




69
74
62
84
80


Days
to
Head-
ing




74
88
78
69
85
75
55
69
82
64
73
70
68
84



58
67
50
63
56


Age at Cutting


8 weeks 10 we
Yield Prot. Prot. Yield Prot.
Tons ; | Lbs/A. Tons '


1.7 12.34
1.4 15.31
1.1 14.00
1.4 14.44
1.3 12.16
1.7 16.3(
1.( 10.24
1.1 12.08
1.6 14.26
0.8 14.79
1.(; 13.48
1.3 15.93
3.2 12.95
2.7 12.51



1.5 19.43
0.3 18.03
0.6 15.93
0.8 16.28
1.1 10.59


(.1 8.66(
4.( 11.90
(;.0 7.7!)
4.9 8.58
5.5 (;.74
5.2 9.28
3.9 7.18
5.2 10.24
4.5 9.01
3.0 8.93
4.4 9.89
3.1 13.13
5.5 10.24
5.2 12.25



4.2 15.23
1.2 16.71
2.1 12.34
3.5 11.03
4.5 7.;1


eks


Prot. Yield
Lbs/A. Tons



1,058 6.3
1 ni00 Q 7


935
844
739
960
553
1,057
813
532
874
814
942
1,276



1,276(
408
518
772
683


1


9.45
12.(60
9.80
9.89)
5.78


892

725
1,038
543


* Grain yields are not shown for varieties that suffer, more l han 30( percent bird damail; e. Yields were not harvested from the sulaniirai


I Grain
Yield
2 weeks Lbs/A.
Prot. Prot. @
, Lbs/A. 15.5'



(.5( 830
.63 1,678
3.76; (i20 3110
4.38 (4(6
7.18 1,132 1840
9.19 1,553 2410
(.30 69( 2090
6.!1 1,147 2720
7.61 1,257 1480
(.5( 7(9 1150
7.09 1,004 19;0
7.)6 788
(i.5(; 1,349 2390
9.45 1,128







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 9.-EFFECT OF STAGE OF MATURITY ON FORAGE YIELD, PROTEIN CON-
TENT AND PROTEIN YIELD OF SORGHUMS AND MILLETS ON SOUTH FLORIDA
SANDY SOILS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS. PLANTED OCTOBER 24,
1958, PLANTATION FIELD LABORATORY, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA.
Age at Nassau Leoti i Cuban Pearl Sweet
Cutting Guinea Red G ] Guinea Shallu Millet Sudan
Tons Fresh Forage per Acre

60 days ........ 4.78 7.47 7.81 6.72 2.64 8.76 3.74
77 days ......... 5.19 7.72 7.29 5.80 4.00 5.86 6.27
103 days -...... 4.63 6.15 5.87 4.56 2.10 6.79 4.62
116 days ........ 3.31 5.00 4.70 3.39 1.97 5.87 3.31

Age at Protein Percent of Forage at Time of Harvest
Cutting (Dry Matter Basis)

60 days .......... 12.60 12.08 12.95 14.61 15.31 17.94 16.19
77 days ......... 9.63 8.93 7.70 9.45 9.80 12.69 13.13
103 days ....... 7.44 7.79 7.00 8.14 8.05 11.81 11.64
116 days ....... 8.22 7.00 7.35 4.90 9.19 9.01 9.80

Age at
Cutting Pounds Protein per Acre

60 days ...... 278 477 441 421 172 620 211
77 days .... 321 441 471 373 296 455 599
103 days ...... 248 322 269 169 112 212 224
116 days ...... 204 230 258 109 125 293 | 134

protein contents of 38 sorghum varieties (Table 10 and Fig. 2)
averaged 12.4 percent at 56 days, 9.9 percent at 70 days and 8.19
percent at 84 days. Two millet varieties averaged 10.42 percent
protein at 56 days, 12.11 percent at 70 days and 11.13 percent at
84 days. Five sudangrass varieties averaged 7.50 percent at 56
days, 11.39 percent at 70 days and 14.43 percent at 84 days. The
increase in protein content of sudangrass reflected a higher per-
centage of leaf growth and young tillers as growth advanced.

EFFECT OF BIRD RESISTANCE ON GRAIN YIELD

For many years successful sorghum grain production in
South Florida has been regarded as a dubious venture unless
a variety could be grown to mature satisfactorily when red-
winged blackbirds were nesting, absent or for other reasons non-





PERCENTAGE
I I I 1 I








o/


//"




', "/ 6


PROTEIN
1 I I I


///7

/ /0
/ *< '/
'<


S -


m


I 1 I I I I I I I
o to 4 0 m
TONS Ot DRY MATTER
PER ACRE


Fig. 2.-Production of dry matter per acre, percentage protein and production of crude protein per acre of soughum
and millets, Belle Glade, Florida. Planted March 1958.


0
ci'
o
-n
o
;,
0--




m
m


I'

0


I I I I I I I I 1
(A1 C AT N =
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
POUNDS PROTEIN / ACRE


o o ...
; -






o
SX 0 0 (

a *
3 .0



.0
=r43
SCC
N\: \\


i ^
d, 3 3
n ^\







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


destructive. When blackbirds were less troublesome, the grain
crop did not succeed due to other birds or unfavorable rainy
weather during the ripening period. (See Fig. 3).

TABLE 10.-EFFECT OF STAGE OF MATURITY ON YIELD, DRY MATTER AND
PROTEIN CONTENTS OF SORGHUM, MILLET AND SUDANGRASS, EVERGLADES
PEAT SOIL, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA, 1958.
I Tons Tons Dry |
Forage Entries Green Dry Matter Protein ] Lbs. Crude
Group Forage Matter Percent I Percent Protein/A.

| 8 Weeks' Growth (March 4-April 29, 1958)


10.69 1.4

10.74 1.3

11.11 1.4

13.56 1.6

10.42 1.0

7.50 0.9


10 Weeks' Growth


16.59 4.1

15.39 4.2

20.09 4.6

23.64 4.8

12.11 3.5

11.39 3.1


13.1 14.89 414

12.1 13.25 338

12.6 17.37 491

11.8 13.63 405

9.6 15.31 293

12.0 16.05 271


(March 4-May 13, 1958)


24.7 9.57 781

27.5 8.50 729

22.9 11.99 957

20.3 9.56 892

28.9 13.39 916

27.2 12.58 731


12 Weeks' Growth (March 4-May 27, 1958)


19.44 5.6


17.46 5.8

20.20 5.9

29.36 7.4

11.13 4.4

14.43 4.1


937


902

1145

1043

852

733


S. Hybrids
Open-
pollinated

Combine ....

Sorgo -------

Millet ....-...

Sudangrass





S. Hybrids
Open-
pollinated

Combine ....

Sorgo ........

Millet .....

Sudangrass


S. Hybrids

Open-
pollinated

Ccmbine ...

Sorgo .......

M illet ........

Sudangrass


12


5

'7

14

2

5






Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


In recent trials at Fort Lauderdale 2 sorghum varieties, Leoti
Red and Cuban Guinea (Table 11), appeared to be highly re-
pellent to attacks of blackbirds, rice birds bobolinkss), English
sparrows and Florida grackles (6). These two varieties are
equipped with sharp awns or spikes attached to the lemma cov-
ering the seed. This natural protective device apparently keeps
the birds from feeding. Both varieties have good foliage char-
acteristics and are suitable for silage or soilage purposes. Bird
resistance also has been associated with bitter tannin-like sub-
stances found in brown-seeded varieties (18). Barham et al.
have shown that Leoti Red sorghum was among those high in
tannin content (4). In the case of the lighter-colored Cuban
Guinea seeds this association may not apply.

PRUSSIC ACID OR CYANIDE POISONING FROM SORGHUMS
Although many varieties of forage sorghums are grown in
the United States as feed and pasture crops, they cause prussic
or hydrocyanic acid poisoning when fed to livestock under certain
conditions. By practicing a few precautions, poisoning will not
occur. Grazing types of sorghum such as sudangrass (Sorghum
vulgare var. sudanense), johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) and

Fig. 3.-Grain sorghum varieties show contrast in resistance to bird
damage. Left to right: G1 (African selection), Cuban Guinea, Leoti Red
and Nassau Guinea.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Sorghum almum contain relatively less toxic material than the
other forage and grain sorghums. But they also can poison live-
stock, since they are apt to be grazed at the very early or small
growth stages when sorghums have their highest poison con-
tent (7).

TABLE 11.-EFFECT OF BIRD DEPREDATION ON HARVESTED GRAIN YIELD OF
SEVERAL SORGHUMS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA.
Dry Grain in Heads Yield Dry Grain
Sorghum Variety as Harvested- per Acre
percent (pounds)

Bird Repellent Varieties:
Leoti Red -..................... 53.7 1,618
Cuban Guinea .......-- 41.0 1,322
Bird Susceptible Varieties:
Gl (African Selection) .-.. 31.9 289
Sweet Sudan ....... ........... 26.9 280
Shallu ---.... ..................- 5.5 28
Nassau Guinea ......... 0.8 5


Soils low in available phosphorus or high in available nitro-
gen produce sorghums with a higher cyanide content. Nitrogen-
starved plants would probably never be poisonous, regardless of
growth stage. Dark green small plants are always most dan-
gerous. Air-drying or ensiling poisonous material will not de-
stroy the toxic principle. Therefore, sorghum should not be en-
siled until it is well headed.
It has been held (30) that cyanogenetic plants killed by frost
are dangerous to feed. Since plants of sufficient maturity have
outgrown their toxic state, frost will have little effect on cyanide
content of mature plants. New ratoon growth, however, would
be high in cyanide.
Geneticists have been working in recent years to develop
strains or varieties of sorghums low in cyanide content. Until
these are available for Florida conditions, feeding should be de-
layed until the sorghum is well headed. Chemical tests are avail-
able to determine quantitatively the cyanide content of these
plants (7, 29). By the use of one of these tests the following
data showing the effect of maturity on the cyanide content of
sorghums were derived.







Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


TABLE 12.-EFFECT OF STAGE OF MATURITY ON CYANIDE CONTENT
OF SORGHUMS.

Height of Plants at Sampling
Variety 72 In.
4-6 In. 12 In. 30-36 In. I (Mature)
Mgm. HCN per 100 g. dry tissue
Cuban Guinea ............................ 80 72 24 5
Leoti Red ... ......... 80 10 8 2
Nassau Guinea ...................... 36 8 3 (Mature)
Sweet Sudan ............................ 8 6 -


Sorghum or sudangrass containing less than 50 mgm. HCN
per 100 gm. of dry tissue is safe to pasture; amounts of 50-75
mgm. HCN are doubtful; and levels over 75 mgm. are dangerous
to feed cattle or other ruminants (7). In Table 12 all of the
sorghums tested were below the critical HCN level and therefore
safe to feed after attaining a height of 3 feet. Since most sor-
ghums are considerably more than 3 feet in height when cut
for forage purposes, these varieties have a wide margin of
safety.

FEEDING VALUE OF SORGHUMS FOR LIVESTOCK
Recent interest in increased usage of sorghum for livestock
feed in the United States has developed because of government
limitations on corn acrage, development of sorghum hybrids and
knowledge that sorghum grain and sorghum silage are excellent
substitutes for corn grain and corn silage.
Value of Sorghum Grain.-When fed to beef cattle, sorghum
grain can generally be substituted pound for pound for corn
grain. The 2 grains are comparable in net energy, total digest-
ible nutrients and mineral composition. Like white corn, most
sorghum grain is deficient in vitamin A. Sorghum grain will
have an average of about 2 percent more crude protein and about
1 percent less crude fat than corn and is similar in crude fiber
and vitamin B content.
Reports from Nebraska (2, 3, 17) and South Carolina (11)
indicate sorghum grain had 90 to 97 percent the feeding value
of corn grain for beef cattle. The importance of cracking or
rolling the sorghum grain needs to be emphasized, however. At






24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

the Nebraska Experiment Station (17), whole sorghum grain
had only 81 percent of the feeding value of cracked sorghum
grain for beef cattle. In Texas (1), cattle fed ground milo aver-
aged 9 to 12 percent more daily gain and required 12 to 16 per-
cent less feed per pound of gain than cattle receiving whole
sorghum grain. In Kansas (8, 9), no appreciable difference in
average daily gains of cattle was obtained between rolled and
coarse ground sorghum grain. No additional benefit was ob-
tained from finer grinding. Sorghum grain can be substituted
for corn grain on an equal basis in beef cattle fattening or win-
tering rations if rolled or coarsely ground and supplemented with
proper protein and minerals.
Reports from Oklahoma (14, 15) demonstrate differences in
palatability, nutrition and productivity among varieties of sor-
ghums and indicate a need for further studies of the new hybrid
varieties.
Value of Sorghum Forage.-Sorghum and corn forage are
relatively equal in nutritive value if a comparable amount of
grain is available in each. Reports from Florida (26), Arizona
(27), Texas (1, 16), South Carolina (11), Indiana (5, 24), Cali-
fornia (20), Georgia (21), Illinois (23) and Alabama (12) in-
dicate that sorghum forages are excellent feed for beef and
dairy cattle. Morrison (22) pointed out that sorghum forage
will not be equal in total digestible nutrients to corn forage if it
does not contain similar quantities of grain.
When ensiled with the seed in the dough stage, sorghum
silage is an excellent roughage for beef and dairy cattle and, if
a comparable amount of grain is present, can be substituted
equally for corn silage. Like corn silage, sorghum silage should
be supplemented with a concentrate mixture to balance a low
protein level. Generally, silage made from forage types of sor-
ghum will serve well as roughage for wintering cattle. Cattle
being fattened for market will usually not obtain as much energy
from this type of silage as from good quality corn silage.
Sudangrass for Grazing Purposes.-For many years sudan-
grass has been recommended in other sections of the country for
grazing purposes during hot, dry summer months when growth
of permanent pastures is not sufficient to meet requirements.
Sudangrass is highly palatable to grazing cattle and is an ex-
cellent feed for increasing milk flow from dairy animals. Ex-
perimental work is limited concerning grazing sorghums with
cattle. A recent report from Georgia (21) indicated that Tift







Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


sudangrass and Starr millet were of comparable feed value for
dairy cattle.
In the Southern states, susceptibility of sudangrass to leaf
diseases has limited its use for grazing purposes. Recently
sudangrass varieties have been developed which are resistant to
most leaf diseases (25). The Greenleaf variety developed in
Kansas from Sweet sudan has proven the most disease-resistant
under south Florida conditions. The Piper variety also has a
low cyanide content as well as disease resistance. Most sudan
varieties should not be grazed until 12 to 18 inches in height and
then rotationally to allow ratoon growth to recover rapidly and
attain the non-poisonous stage when it can again be grazed.

POINTS TO CONSIDER IN GROWING A
SORGHUM CROP IN SOUTH FLORIDA
1. Provide good water control. For highest sorghum yields,
facilities for irrigation and drainage should be established to
allow for rapid surface run-off and a water table maintained at
24 to 36 inches below the soil surface after stand is obtained.
,2. Plow crop area well in advance of planting. Plow or disk
plant residues beneath the soil surface, but exercise care in plow-
ing sandy soils to prevent bringing white sand from the sub-
soil to the surface.
3. Broadcast lime and fertilizers in amounts indicated by
soiltests and disk well into the soil before planting.
4. Drill treated seed at rates of 10 to 15 pounds per acre,
depending on size and quality of the seed. This rate is sufficient
to give 10 plants per foot of row. Rows spaced alternately 30
and 42 inches facilitate adequate tractor cultivation and harvest-
ing on sandy soils. Rows 36 inches apart are suitable on the
organic soils.
5. Cultivate to control weeds as required. At last cultiva-
tion, sandy soil should be removed from wide-row middles and
used to hill-up rows as much as possible.
6. Harvest with forage harvester or grain combine, depend-
ing on crop stage and usage. Use the forage harvester for fresh-
cut feed and silage. A grain combine with header attachment
is adaptable for use when only grain is desired. Any grain
harvested for storage should be artificially dried to a moisture
content of 15 percent.
7. Apply recommended fertilizers at time of cultivation for
the growth of ratoon crops of sorghum. Normally this cultiva-







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tion should suffice for 1 ratoon crop. Follow fertilization and
successive ratoon cropping procedure as long as sorghum stands
allow profitable culture. In sandy soil 1,000 pounds per acre
of an 8-8-8 or 8-12-12 fertilizer gives best results. On organic
soils sorghum following winter vegetables usually does not need
additional fertilizer. On virgin peat soils apply 500 pounds per
acre of an 0-8-24 containing 3.0, 2.0, 1.2 and 0.7 percent of CuO,
MnO, ZnO and B2,O, respectively. The CuO may be omitted
if 25 pounds of 50 percent copper oxide or 50 pounds of 25 per-
cent copper sulfate has been applied separately. Initial appli-
cations of copper to organic soils should be made at least 2 weeks
prior to planting the sorghum crop. The mixed fertilizer should
be applied broadcast to organic soils. For the best growth of
sorghum plants, the organic soil pH value should be reduced to
5.8 to 6.0 by an application of agricultural sulfur.

LITERATURE CITED
1. Anonymous. Beef cattle investigations in Texas, 1888-1950. Texas
Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 724. 1950.
2. Baker, Guy N. The methods of feeding sorghum grains to fatten-
ing yearling steers. Neb. No. Platt Exp. Sta. Prog. Rpt. 79. 1959.
3. Baker, M. L., A. D. Flowerday and J. Matsushima. Grain sorghums
vs. corns for fattening heifers. N. E. Nebr. Exp. Sta. Prog. Rpt. No. 1.
1959.
4. Barham, H. N., J. A. Wagoner, C. L. Campbell and E. H. Harcle-
rode. The chemical composition of some sorghum grains and the proper-
ties of their starches. Kan. Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bul. 61. 1946.
5. Beeson, W. M., M. T. Mohler and T. W. Perry. Wintering steer
calves on hay, barley silage, oats silage, wheat silage, sorghum silage or
corn silage. Ind. Agr. Exp. Sta. Mimeo A.H. 227. 1958.
j 6. Boyd, F. T. Resistant sorghums promise grain production in spite
of birds and diseases. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Sunshine State Agr. Res. Rpt.
Vol. 4, No. 2. April 1959.
7. Boyd, F. T., O. S. Aamodt, G. Bohstedt and E. Truog. Sudangrass
management for control of cyanide poisoning. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron.
30: 569-582. 1937.
8. Cox, R. F., and E. F. Smith. A comparison of rolled, coarse ground
and fine ground milo grain for fattening steer calves. Kan. Agr. Exp. Sta.
Cir. 273: 25-26. 1951.
9. Cox, R. F., and E. F. Smith. A comparison of rolled, coarsely ground
and finely ground milo grain for fattening steer calves. Kan. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Cir. 283: 52-53. 1952.
* 10. Dickson, J. G. Sorghum, sudangrass and Johnsongrass diseases
in "Diseases of Field Crops". McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 188-205. 1956.








Sorghum Forage and Grain in South Florida


11. Godbey, E. G., R. F. Wheeler, D. H. Kropf, W. G. Godley and
L. V. Starkey. Winter forage for fattening steers. S. Car. Agr. Exp. Sta.
Bul. 469. 1959.
12. Hawkins, G. E., E. A. Smith and W. B. Kelley. A comparison of
Starr millett, sweet sudangrass and Johnsongrass as dairy forages. Ala.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Lflt. 60. 1958.
13. Hayes, H. K., F. R. Immer and D. L. Smith. Methods of plant
breeding. McGraw-Hill. 1955.
14. Hillier, J. C., Robert MacVicar and W. Pond. Grain sorghum as
a feed for swine. Okla. Agr. Exp. Sta. M.P. 34: 94-100. 1954.
# 15. Hillier, J. C., J. J. Martin and G. R. Waller. The relative value
of six varieties of milo for growing and finishing swine. Okla. Agr. Exp.
Sta. M.P. 55: 41-46. 1959.
16. Jones, J. H., J. M. Jones, C. S. Fraps, A. R. Kenmarer, R. E. Dick-
son, C. E. Fisher and N. R. Ellis. Sorghum silages and dehydrated alfalfa
leaf meal as sources of carotene in beef cattle fattening rations. Texas
Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 659. 1944.
% 17. Loeffel, W. J. Grain sorghums as feeds for beef cattle and hogs.
Neb. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 439. 1957.
r 18. Martin, John H. Sorghum improvement. In USDA Yearbook of
Agriculture. 1936.
19. Martin, John H. Field Crops. In USDA Yearbook of Agriculture.
1957.
20. Meyer, J. H. G. P. Lofgren and N. R. Ittner. Alfalfa and sorghum
silages. Calif. Agr. Exp. Sta. Prog. Rpt. 13 (1): 4. 1959.
21. Miller, W. J., E. R. Beaty and L. M. Underwood. A comparison
of Tift sudan and Starr millet for dairy cows by several technics. Ga. Agr.
Exp. Sta. Tech. Bul. N.S. 16. 1958.
22. Morrison, F. B. Feeds and Feeding, 22nd Edition. Ithaca, N. Y.
1956.
23. Nevens, W. B., and R. A. Kendall. Sorghums and soybeans as
silage crops for milk production. III. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 578. 1954.
24. Perry, T. W., M. Davis and W. M. Beeson. Corn silage vs. sor-
ghum silage with various antibiotics for fattening heifers. Ind. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Mimeo A.S. 226. 1959.
S25. Quinby, J. R., and J. H. Martin. Sorghum improvement. In "Ad-
vances in Agronomy" 6: 305-359. Academic Press, Inc., New York. 1954.
26. Shealey, A. L., W. G. Kirk and R. M. Crown. Comparative feed-
ing value of silages made from Napiergrass, Sorghum and Sugar Cane.
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 378. 1941.
27. Stanley, E. B. Rations for fattening cattle in Arizona. Ariz. Agr.
Exp. Sta. Bul. 198. 1945.
28. Stephens, J. C., W. H. Speir, D. S. Harrison, F. T. Boyd, and H. Y.
Ozaki. Surface and subsurface hydrologic studies in central and south
Florida. Fla. Agr. Ann. Rpt. pp. 262-264. 1955.








28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

29. Sullivan, J. T. Determination of hydrocyanic acid by the picric
acid method and the KWSZ photometer. Jour. Assn. Off. Agr. Chem. 22:
781-784. 1939.
30. West, Erdman, and M. W. Emmel. Poisonous plants in Florida.
Fla. Exp. Sta. Bul. 510. 1952.




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