February Male Sterile Sorghum Mgt

In the January issue we covered the first part of utilizing BMR forage sorghum, male sterile version to produce high quality forage for dairy production.  The sorghum is cheaper to grow per acre than most corn varieties.  Utilized the year before corn, it eliminates corn rootworm the first year or two after.   Deer hide in it and then come out to eat the neighbor corn.  The problem is that most sorghum has a grain head that as it fills, lodges the crop making it difficult to harvest.   The use of a male sterile variety eliminates the weighty head on a thin stalk.  Instead of increasing digestible components by filling a seed head (vitreous, hard to digest starch), it keeps those components in the forage cells.  This increases the milk producing ability while simultaneously increasing the dry matter of the forage.  The question we had was how long should you let the crop grow after heading before ensiling?  In our study we went seven weeks post heading.   As reported in the January letter, the sugar component as measured by wet chemistry, increased 500% to 18.85% of the dry matter.  This was measured post fermentation (three weeks) so it reflects what the cows would be consuming from the ration.


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