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From the Ground Up - New Sorghums For Animal Forage

“At one time, sorghum was used as a hay product, but generally was used where it was too hot to grow alfalfa, or other hay. It may me too dry, conditions weren’t just right, but the quality of the hay was never as good as what you would find using corn silage, or alfalfa, or Bermuda grass hay.”

Ricky Rice is a forage sorghum product manager , and says much of that has changed. In original sorghums, all the value was in the leaves and very little in the stems.

“We’ve actually lowered that lignin content, and when you do that, it raises the digestibility, and the palatability of that to where now the steam in our new products, the stem is virtually as high in energy as the leaf itself is.”

One of the most popular hybrids is a dwarf variety.

“You get a ten foot tall plant in a heavy wind, and they have a tendency to fall down, and lodge. If you’ve got that same thing in a four to five foot tall plant, and have just as much tonnage in it, you don’t have the lodging issues, so it’s all standing.”

The new forage sorghums don’t produce as much protein as alfalfa hay, but they’re rich in energy production.

“When you look at just the amount of energy that’s here for growing and developing those animals, the amount of energy you can develop from our sorghums will rival the best of anything that’s out there on the market.”

“We can produce as much or more milk per cow per day through a dairy cow with sorghum as you can with the best corn silage or the best alfalfa.”

Rice says this isn’t your grandfather’s sorghum.

“This isn’t the same thing that people saw twenty years ago. It’s brand new, totally new, highly digestible, good quality, and good tonnage.”

Just another management tool for producers involved in animal agriculture. I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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