Forage and grain sorghum double-cropped following harvest of small grain silages
Forage and grain sorghum double-cropped following har vest of small grain silages
Gerry L. Posler
K . Bolsen
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Forage and grain sorghum double-cropped following harvest of small grain
The attempt to increase total forage TDN per acre by double-cropping was only moderately successful in 1975
and 1976. Limiting factors were relatively poor stands and extremely dry summer growing seasons.
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Forage and Grain Sorghum Double-cropped Following
Harvest of Small Grain Silages
G. L. Posler 1 a n d K e i t h B o l s e n
T h e a t t e m p t t o i n c r e a s e t o t a l f o r a g e T D N p e r a c r e b y d o u b l e - c r o p p i n g
was only moderately successful in 1975 and 1976. Limiting factors were
relatively poor stands and extremely dry summer growing seasons.
This study was conducted primarily to determine potential yield of a
forage system when forage sorghum silage is double-cropped after small
g r a i n s i l a g e . The goal is to maximize the yield of forage TDN per acre
and thereby increase profits when integrated with a beef enterprise. A
grain sorghum variety was also included to determine if satisfactory
yields might be obtained if grain were needed more than forage in the
livestock operation. Minimum tillage was also compared with conventional
DeKalb C42y hybrid grain sorghum and Asgrow Titan E hybrid forage
sorghum were used both years. Plots were 10 feet x 50 feet (four 30-inch
rows) with 10 or 20 feet of the center 2 rows harvested for yield.
Herbicides were used to control weeds and the plots were fertilized with 60 lbs
per acre actual N in 1975 and 80 lbs per acre in 1976.
Two dates of planting were planned for 1975; three for 1976.
Untimely rain in late May and early June allowed only a late planting in 1975
(June 20). In 1976, extremely dry weather after the June 2 planting caused
us to abandon that planting. The second planting (June 21) was followed
by heavy rains and only fair stands resulted. The third planting (July 2)
was made after spring oats were harvested.
Results and Discussion
Forage and grain yields are shown in Table 19.1. Yields of both were
relatively low, but probably represent the low end of an expected range.
Rainfall was extremely limited in both 1975 and 1976, and untimely late
spring rainfall delayed planting and contributed to poor stands.
For any double-cropping system to be successful, operations must be
timely. Minimum tillage equipment should allow more timely planting and
1 Department of Agronomy
thereby increase the percentage of successes. In this study, stands were
generally erratic for both minimum and conventional tillage, contributing
largely to the low yields. However, when the 10 to 15 tons per acre of
forage sorghum silage is added to the 8 to 9 tons per acre of small grain
silage harvested earlier (see Forage and Grain Yields of Barley, Wheat and
Oats in this Progress Report), the yearly total is quite good for both 1975
and 1976. For comparison, average single crop yields in the 1975 and 1976
Hybrid Forage Sorghum Performance Tests on the same Agronomy Farm at
Manhattan were 23.3 and 15.7 tons per acre.2
The second essential factor for double-cropping success is somewhat
" n o r m a l " r a i n f a l l . W e r e c e i v e d v i r t u a l l y n o p r e c i p i t a t i o n f r o m l a t e J u n e
into August both years and present soil moisture conditions indicate a low
probability of double-cropping success in 1977.
Preceding crop and h a r v e s t d a t e s
Wheat and barley s i l a g e , J u n e 2 S p r i n g o a t s i l a g e , July 1
T i l l a g e
B u f f a l o - t i l l
B u f f a l o - t i l l
y i e l d
y i e l d
1 9 7 5 1976
8 . 3
8 . 8
25. 8 Data supplied by Ted Walter , Department of Agronomy.