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Group Title: Watermelong and grape investigations laboratory mimeo report - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 59-1
Title: Growing sorghum, sundangrass and millet in Central Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076032/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing sorghum, sundangrass and millet in Central Florida
Series Title: Watermelong and grape investigations laboratory mimeo report - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 59-1
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Peacock, H. A.
Publisher: Watermelon and Grape Investigations Laboratory, University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1959
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00076032
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 129531990

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HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




* *


Watermelon and Grape Investigations Laboratory Mimeo Report 59-1
Leesburg, Florida
January 15, 1959


GROWING SORGHUM, SUNDANGRASS AND MILLET IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

H. A. Peacock


Central Florida's climate favors the production of year-round

permanent pastures but frequent summer droughts retard the growth

of perennial grasses. Occasionally, central Florida experiences

disastrous freezes that reduce the limited winter feed of permanent

pastures to nil. For this reason, considerable interest is being

shown in quick growing annual crops that provide supplemental

grazing, hay and silage.

Sorghums, sundangrasses and millets fit well in rotation with

small grains, temporary winter pastures and winter legumes since

planting may be delayed until these crops are harvested. All are

considered efficient users of available soil moisture and often

exhibit tolerance to drought. All are adapted, also, to complete

mechanization of harvest as silage or hay. Sorghum has the

additional advantage that it may be utilized as a grain crop.


KYFEB
General Cultural Practices

Sorghum, sundangrass and millet benefit from a well prepared

seedbed as do other crops. Conventional methods used for land

preparation for corn or other row crops is satisfactory. Good

moisture conditions at planting time is important to insure rapid

seed germination and early seedling development. Sorghum, sundangrass

and millet may be planted at any time after the soil temperature is

high enough to insure rapid seed germination, usually a minimum of








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65F. Greater yields are generally obtained from early plantings

than from later plantings because of better moisture conditions and

longer growing period. However, satisfactory forage yields have

been obtained from seedings made as late as July 1.

Fungicidal seed treatment increases seedling emergence and

seedling survival of sorghum, sudangrass, and millet, and is

beneficial in the protection of grain sorghum against smut diseases.

Arasan is probably the safest and easiest to use when treatment is

done on the farm.

Maximum yields of sorghum, whether for forage or grain, are

usually obtained from rows spaced 36 to 40 inches. Broadcast or

grain drill seeding is not recommended, since weed control in drilled

or broadcast stands is not practical.

Maximum forage yields of millets and sudangrasses have been ob-

rained from rows spaced 18-20 inches apart. Rows should be spaced

far enough apart to facilitate cultivation, but at row spacings

greater than 20 inches, or less than 18 inches, forage yields decrease.

Broadcast or grain drill seeding is not recommended.

Soil test should be used whenever possible to determine fertilizer

requirements. However, sorghum, sudangrass and millet respohd to the

application of a complete fertilizer. Some central Florida soils are

deficient in zinc and this element should be added to prevent white e

bud". Supplementary applications of nitrogen to millet and sudangrass

are normally profitable and should be applied in moderate amount after

each grazing period. Supplemental nitrogen applications to sorghum












are profitable, also, but to a lesser extent,

Applications of 600-800 pounds per acre of an 8-8-8 fertilizer

at planting time and side dressing with 100 pounds of ammonium

nitrate or its equivalent after each grazing period will normally

give satisfactory yields. Side-dressing applications should be

governed by frequency and amount of rainfall.



1958 Testing Procedures and Conditions

To obtain more information on the yielding ability, disease and

insect resistance and other characteristics of sorghum, sudangrass

and millet, variety tests were conducted at the Watermelon and

Grape Investigations Laboratory at Leesburg, Florida in 1958.

The central Florida variety tests included 58 sorghum, 16 sudan-

grass and 8 millet entries. Of these, 34 sorghum and 3 sudangrass

varieties were obtained from seed-producing or distributing companies.1

Fifteen sorghum, 13 sudangrass and eight millet varieties were obtained

from Dr. A. A. Hanson, Forage and Range Research Branch, Agricultural

Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.

Four sorghum varieties were obtained from Dr. C. J. Franzke, South

Dakotay



'The author wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of J. R. McNeill
Field Seed Company, Spur, Texas; Northup, King and Company, Phoenix,
Arizona; Stewart-Bawden Seed Farms, Plainview, Texas; and DeKalb
Hybrid Corn Company, Lubbock, Texas, for furnishing sorghum, sudangrass
and millet seed.











Agricultural Experiment Station, Brookings, South Dakota; four

sorghum varieties from Dr. O. J.. Webster, Nebraska Agricultural

Experiment Station, Lincoln, Nebraska; and one sorghum variety

from Dr. R. R. Kalton, Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station,

Ames, Iowa.

All entries of sorghum, sudangrass and millet were planted in

a randomized complete block design with four replications of each

entry. The sorghum plots consisted of three ten-foot rows spaced

three feet apart. Forage yields were obtained by harvesting eight

feet of the center row of each plot. Grain yields were obtained

by harvesting eight feet of one of the two remaining rows in each

plot. All plots received 600 pounds per acre of an 8-8-8 fertilizer

applied to the row April 23, 1958. The plots were planted on April

28-30 with a Planet Jr. drill calibrated to seed 12 pounds of seed

per acre.

The sudangrass and millet plots consisted of four ten-foot rows

spaced one and one-half feet apart. Forage yields were obtained

by harvesting eight feet of the center two rows of each plot. In

addition to 600 pounds par acre of an 8-8-8 fertilizer applied to

the row April 23, the sudangrass and millet plots received 200

pounds per acre of ammonium nitrate on July 14 and again on August

29. The plots were planted on April 23 and 24 with a Planet Jr.

drill calibrated to seed 20 pounds per acre of sudangrass or millet

seed.

The stands obtained were good because of excellent moisture

conditions at the time of and just after planting. There were










stand differences among the varieties of sorghums, sudangrasses and

millets but they were so minor they were considered insignificant.

Moisture conditions were generally good during the growing season

with the exception of the month of May. The test plots showed the

effects of dry weather stress during May; however, no supplemental

irrigation was utilized.

The sorghums were harvested for forage yield when the grain reached

the hard dough stage and for grain yield when the grain was fully

mature. The grain of several sorghum varieties was severely damaged

by birds. Where a variety sustained 30% or more bird damage, it was

not harvested for grain yield. The sudangrass and millet varieties

were harvested when the earliest maturing variety was in full bloom.


Results

Sorghum forage and grain yields and other data are given in Table

1. Forage yields are reported on the basis of tons (oven dry weight)

per acre and grain yields on the basis of pounds per acre at 12 percent

moisture.

Among the 58 sorghums tested, nine yielded five or more tons per

acre. During the 1958 harvest season Hodo, Honey Sorgo (MN Texas)

and Sart were the highest in forage yield, yielding 7.67, 7.59 and

7.h5 tons per acre, respectively.

N. K. l15 was highest in grain yield but was not suitable for com-

bine harvesting. Of the combine-type sorghums tested, R. S. 610, Dual,

N. K. 135 and Texas 601 were the highest in grain yield, yielding 191h,












1122, 1535 and 1040 pounds of grain per acre, respectively. Dual

was the most desirable variety for grain production from the stand-

point of head mold and bird damage resistance. In a humid climate

such as that in central Florida, losses due to diseases, particularly

head molds, may be great. This loss may be reduced considerably by

growing sorghum varieties with open-panicle type heads. This type

head is less susceptible, also, to bird damage. Other diseases that

may occur on sorghum in central Florida and that may cause disastrous

losses during epiphytotics are bacterial blight, anthracnose, Helmin-

thosporium leaf spots and Cercospora leaf spot. The head smuts are

usually controlled with proper seed treatment.


Table 1. Forage yields in tons (oven dry weight) er
yields in pounds per acre at 12% moisture;
and maturity dates of 58 sorghum varieties.


acre; grain
plant height


Variety

African millet
SJ2 Hybrid
Sugar Drip
Rox Orange
Honey Sorgo (MN Texas)
Wiley
Sumac 1712
Tracy
Atlas
Sorghum almum
Sart
Honey Sorgo (Okla. A&M)
Sourless Orange
Kansas Orange
Hegari
Texas 601
Black Amber
Caprock
AMAK R-12
Gooseneck T. S. 5680
Combine 7078


Forage Grain
Tons per Pounds
acre acre

2.85 1469
2.30 231
5.35 '908
4.46 990
7.59 792
6.24 677
3.59 743
4.05 a
4.78 -a
2.64 297
7.45 627
5.66 792
4.41 1551
5.59 1832
2.75 710
1.16 1040
2.58 1947
1.20 a
1.50 1650
7.28 726
1.50 1419


per Maturity
date

7/10
6/20
7/11
6/21
7/28
7/31
7/22
7/26
7/9
6/21
8/3
7/22
7/11
7/7
7/21
6/30
6/23
7/2
6/28
7/30
6/23


Height in
inches

74
94
89
68
102
110
68
74
80
105
107
95
72
79
56
47
74
45
51
94
ho








Table 1. Continued
Forage Grain
Tons per Pounds per Maturity Height in
Variety acre acre date inches
R. S. 590 2.58 1073 6/23 48
Hodo 7.67 561 8/5 95
R. S. 650 1.89 a 7/1 48
Rex Sorgo 3.90 871 7/25 77
Martin 1.60 957 7/3 50
White African 4.25 a 7/8 84
Texas 611 2.42 827 6/23 55
Texas 660 1.88 1122 6/23 50
Texas 620 1.89 990 6/23 49
R. S. 610 1.71 1914 6/21 51
AMAK R-10 1.66 1568 6/28 87
Westland 1.83 710 6/21 45
R. S. 630 1.60 a 7/3 53
Combine Kafir 60 1.38 a 7/7 47
Plainsman 1..50 578 7/2 45
Redbine 60 1.60 759 6/24 49
Redbine 58 1.71 792 6/24 49
Redbine 66 1.65 a 7/5 48
Axtell 3.59 a 7/7 71
R. S. 301 F 3.58 1177 7/7 73
R. S. 303 F 2.92 a 7/8 76
Norkan 2.23 -a 7/8 65
D. D. Yellow Sooner 1.84 1617 6/24 43
N. K. 310 2.42 a 6/23 50
N. K. 230 1.87 125E 6/22 49
N. K. 145 2.74 2145 6/19 68
N. K. 300 5.05 1139 7/28 72
N. K. 220 1.55 1205 6/24 50
N. K. 135 1.69 1535 6/19 55
N. K. 320 6.13 1485 7/27 101
Nebraska 13 1.41 1304 6/28 46
Norghum 1.01 825 6/24 46
Reliance 0.84 429 6/18 41
Rancher 2.34 825 6/18 58
Dual 1.73 1122 6/19 56
12-7-2 Ms x 1087 4.65 a 7/27 92
FS-1 4.57 a 7/27 76
Mean 3.07 1072 66
aVarieties with 30% or more bird damage were not harvested for
grain yield.
Significant Difference: A difference of less than 0.86 tons
per acre or 124 pounds per acre between
any two entries should not be considered
significant in this test.







-8-


Sudangrass and millet forage yields and other data are given in

Tables 2 and 3, respectively. The forage yields are reported on the

basis of tons (Oven dry weight) per acre

Among the 16 sudangrasses tested, Stoneville Syn. 1, Stoneville

Selection and 31-13 Ms x Sweet Sudan were the highest in forage yield,

yielding 4.13, 4.13 and 3.90 tons per acre, respectively. The prevalent

disease was bacterial blight, and during a natural epiphytotic in 1958,

Stoneville Syn. 1 and Stoneville Selection were highly resistant and

31-13 Ms x Sweet Sudan was moderately resistant. All sudangrasses

tested were free of insect attack other than slight damage by grass-

hoppers.


Table 2. Forage yield in tons (oven dry weight) per acre and disease
rating of 16 sudangrass varieties.

STons per Height Disease
Variety acre in inches rating

Common Sweet 2.90 51 3.00
Wheeler 1.46 52 9.88
California 23 2.60 51 8.38
Greenleaf 2.16 45 3.25
Tift 2.70 h7 3.00
Ga. 337 3.33 44 1.75
Piper 2.35 52 6.75
Sweet 372 2.61 46 6.25
Sweet 372 (S-l) 2.04 51 4.75
Perennial Sweet 3.13 51 2.25
Stoneville Syn. 1 4.13 50 1.50
Lahome 2.61 51 3.00
Stoneville Selection 4.13 49 1.75
Perennial Sweet (Conner) 2.73 49 3.75
Common Sudan 2.48 54 8.63
31-13 Ms x Sweet 3.90 46 3.50

Mean 2.77 49 4.46
aDisease ratings were based on an arbitrary damage scale (0 none,
to 10 = total loss).

Significant Difference: A difference of less than 0.25 tons per acre
between any two entries should not be considered
significant in this test..









Table 3. Forage yields in tons (oven dry weight) per acre and height
in inches of 8 millet varieties

Tons per Height
Variety acre in inches

Starr Pearl 4i50 36
German Millet 8A 049 17
Common Pearl 2,71 34
Improved Starr Pearl 4.h3 33
German Millet R 0.74 20
Hybrid Pearl SJ 3.00 34
Pearl 7 2.72 32
Gahi-1 4.66 4i

Mean 2.91 31

Significant Difference: A difference of less than 0.36 tons per acre
between any two entries should not be con-
sidered significant in this test.


Among eight millet varieties tested, Gahi-1, Starr Pearl and Improved

Starr Peqrl were highest in forage yield, yielding 4.66, 4.50 and 4.43

tons per acre, respectively. Gahi-1, Starr Pearl and Improved Starr

Pearl were later in maturity than the other millet varieties, with

Gahi-1 the latest maturing variety. The German millets tested had

little forage value in central Florida compared with the Pearl millets.

Summary

Studies on the performance of 58 sorghum, 16 sudangrass and 8 millet

varieties were conducted during 1958 at the Watermelon and Grape Inves-

tigations Laboratory, Leesburg, Florida.

The sorghum varieties Hodo, Honey Sorgo (MN Texas) and Sart were the

highest in forage yield and were well adapted to central Florida condi-

tions. Hodo, Honey Sorgo (MN Texas) and Sart yielded 7.67, 7.59 and

7.45 tons (oven dry weight) per acre, respectively. Several other








-10-


varieties were well adapted to central Florida but yielded signif-

icantly less forage per acre than the above varieties. R. S. 610,

Dual, N. K. 135 and Texas 601 were the varieties highest in grain

yield, yielding 1914, 1122, 1535 and 100 pounds of grain per acre,

respectively. Although yielding less grain than R. S. 610 and N. K.

135, Dual is recommended for central Florida planting for grain

production because of more resistance to head molds and bird damage.

The millets were more productive than the sudangrasses. The

millets averaged 2.91 tons (oven dry weight) per acre; the sudan-

grasses averaged 2.77 tons. Excluding the German millets, the millet

mean yield was 3.67 tons. Stoneville Syn. 1 and Stoneville Selection

were the most productive sudangrasses, producing forage over a longer

period than the other sudangrasses. The hybrid 31-13 Ms x Sweet Sudan

was not significantly different in forage yield from Stoneville Syn. 1

or Stoneville Selection; however, the latter two varieties are pre-

ferred over the former because of greater disease resistance.

Gahi-1, Starr Pearl and Improved Starr Pearl were highest in yield

among the eight millet varieties tested, yielding 4.66, h.50 and 4.43

tons (Oven dry weight) per acre. Gahi-1, Starr Pearl and Improved

Starr Pearl are well adapted to central Florida conditions are are

recommended for their disease resistance, high forage yield and quality.

Gahi-1 is recommended as a late maturing variety. The german millets

have little forage value because of unproductiveness.

Sudangrass has been known to cause hydrocyanic acid poisoning in

cattle; however, this is not usually a problem in the Southeastern








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United States. Pearl millet and German millet do not cause hydrocyanic

acid poisoning. The late maturing Pearl millets, also, produce higher

quality forage over a longer period of time than sudnngrasses.

Due to the limited testing of sorghums, sudangrasses and millets

in central Florida, the following varieties are recommended on a trial

basis only.

Forage sorghum: Hodo, Honey Sorgo (MN Texas) and Sart.

Grain sorghum: Dual, R. S. 610, N. K. 135

Sudangrass: Stoneville Syn. 1 and Stoneville Selection.

Millet: Gahi-1, Starr Pearl and Improved Starr Pearl.




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