Choosing between Forage Sorghum, Sorghum Sudan, Hybrid Sudangrass, and Master Graze – by Larry Hawkins

Bulleted lists for comparison between Forage Sorghum, Sorghum Sudan, Hybrid Sudangrass, Master Graze.

Forage Sorghum (FS)

  • Treated more like corn silage
  • Planted in rows, direct chopped
  • One-cut system
  • Shorter relative maturities (85 and 94 days) now available to go further North
  • Can be Concept® treated which allows some herbicide usage
  • Nutrient profile – can reach 10% CP, 10% Sugar and 10% Starch in soft dough stage
  • Yield – In Southern parts of Byron marketing area will be competitive with or beating corn silage. In Northern parts where double cropped with Tritcale will match corn silage yield
  • Seeding rate – 80,000 seeds/acre (usually 5 to 8#’s). This the least expensive sorghum product to plant
  • Harvested at soft dough stage as grain becomes very hard as it ripens
  • Available in untreated (UT), but not Certified Organic
  • Harvest for haylage and baleage

Sorghum Sudan (SS)

  • Quickest harvest after planting (45 days for first cut, than 30 days for subsequent cuts)
  • 2 or more cut system – more cuttings further South, less further North
  • Can be 11 to 22% CP depending on fertility
  • Produces between 2 and 2½ DM per cutting
  • Seeding rates – 40 to 50 Ibs in Upper Midwest, decreasing to 25 Ibs in KY and TN
  • Available in untreated (UT), but not Certified Organic
  • Harvest for haylage, baleage or grazing
  • Can be interseeded with 5 Ibs annual red clover for cover crop for the next fall, winter

Hybrid Sudangrass (SG)

  • Only candidate of this group for dry baling
  • Fastest dry-down for haylage/baleage also
  • Available in untreated (UT), but not Certified Organic
  • Can be 11 to 22% CP depending on fertility
  • New AS9301 is competitive on yield and quality with SS. It is the first BMR Gene 6 Sudan Hybrid
  • Seeding rate – 20 to 25 Ibd/acre
  • Available in untreated (UT), but not Certified Organic
  • Harvest as haylage, dry hay, baleage or by grazing

Master Graze (MG)

  • Has the earliest planting date – can be planted after soil temps hit 55°F whereas all sorghums must wait for 60°F
  • Can be from 11% to 18% CP
  • Largest yield for a 60 day crop – 4 to 5 tons DM
  • Seeding rate – 30,000 to 36,000/acre depending on row width.
  • One-cut system, however Sorghum Sudan or Hybrid Sudangrass can be seeded into MG after cutting and MG tillers will add to first cutting of sorghum.
  • Available in untreated (UT), but not Certified Organic
  • Harvest for haylage, baleage or by grazing