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
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
PRESS BULLETIN 146(
Florida Agrqli llural Experimein Station
SORGHUM FOR PASTURE
BY J. M. SCOTT
There is hardly any other crop that the general farmer can plant at this
time of the year that will give such good returns for early summer pasture as
will sorghum. When properly cared for, one planting of sorghum should pro-
duce three good crops during the growing season. Sorghum is well liked by
horses, cattle, or swine, and will be found an excellent pasture for dairy cows.
During the past three years the Experiment Station has tested 30 to 40
varieties. Out of this number there are some which are better adapted for
early summer pasture than the others. For pasturing purposes it is desirable
to get the crop as early as possible in the summer. There is perhaps no va-
riety better suited for this than the Early Amber. This is a small sorghum
which matures earlier than almost any of the others, and gives good pastur-
age from two to three weeks sooner.
TIME OF PLANTING
Sorghum seed may be sown at any time from March 15 to August 1.
When possible it is advisable to sow early, during March. If this is done, the
first crop may be pastured during the latter part of June or early in July;
and, with favorable conditions, two other good crops may be secured during
HOW TO PLANT
Solghum seed may be sown broadcast or planted in drills. If sown broad-
cast, more seed will be needed. The amount of seed varies from one to two
bushels per acre. It is likely that when planted in drills a distance of three
to four feet between the rows will be found the most satisfactory. This dis-
tance will permit of cultivation being carried on, which will ensure larger
yields; and there is likely to be less waste while the stock is pasturing off the
sorghum, as the animals tend to walk between the rows, and so will not tram-
ple the forage under foot. A one-horse drill, such as is used for planting corn
and velvet beans, will be found satisfactory for planting sorghum seed. All
that is necessary is to change the drill plate. The drill plate for planting sor-
ghum seed should have eight holes of about three-sixteenths of an inch in di-
ameter. A drill plate of this kind will plant more seed than is required for a
MWarch 12, 1910
stand, but it is more satisfactory to thin out the stand than to have to fill in
the missing places. When planted in drills one bushel of seed will be enough
for four to six acres.
From four to eight hundred pounds of fertilizer containing
Ammonia ....... .....- .... ........-......... ...... ...... per cent.
Phosphoric acid. .. ........ ............ .............. ..5 per cent.
Potash ............. .......... ............ ...4. per cent.
should be used. The fertilizer should be applied a week or ten days before
planting the seed. After the first crop is pastured off, go over the field with
a mowing machine to cut off all remaining stubs; then with a small plow
throw a furrow away from the sorghum stubs, apply the fertilizer in the fur-
row, and cover it by throwing the furrow back again. For the second and
succeeding crops it will only be necessary to apply from two to four hundred
pounds per acre.
If proper attention is given to the preparation of the seed-bed before
planting, cultivation can begin sooner, and the young plants will not be so
easily covered or pulled up during the first cultivation. This cultivation will
not only keep weeds down, but the stirring of the soil will also tend to hasten
the growth of the crop. Sorghum is a slow-growing crop at first, and the ear-
lier the cultivation begins the more will the growth of the crop be hastened.
The two-horse cultivator should be used. This'will reduce the cost about
one-half. With this implement, one man or boy, with two mules, will culti-
vate more than twice the area, and the soil will be left in better condition,
than when the old-fashioned one-horse plow or sweep is used.
Live stock should not be turned in to pasture on the sorghum until it is
nearly mature, that is until it is all headed out and the grains are in the hard
dough stage. If pastured before this time the animals will get less nourish-
ment from the forage. If the sorghum is not wanted for pasturage, three
good crops of hay may be secured in one year.
State papers please copy.