AS6401 has a very long season in the South (approximately 100 days to bloom). This extends the harvest window and can be used where photoperiod sensitive hybrids are not effective. In more northern regions, it is approximately 65 days to bloom. Due to AS6401’s tropical genetics, the product has better regrowth in wet or humid conditions.
- Most cold tolerant both in establishment and growth. However the difference is only a few degrees.
- Versatile hybrid for hay, silage or grazing
- Highly disease resistant
- Superior forage quality with high palatability and forage fiber digestibility
Soil temperature should be at least 60º F. Avg. Seeds per Pound: 14,000 – 16,000. Planting depth should be 1”. Can be no-tilled into the stubble of winter and spring crops. Do not plant in soils with pH greater 7.5 – 8.0 as Iron Chlorosis can be a severe problem.
Sorghum Sudan will usually need about ten days to emerge, and then can grow 3″ to 6″ per day. A conventional or no-till drill is used for the seeding and planting depth should be 1″ to 1 1/2″. Plant when the soil temperatures are at least 60 degrees at a rate of 25-40 lbs/Acre. Planting after a small grain crop (e.g. rye or Triticale) requires dealing with the allelopathic effects from the dying grain plants (minimum tillage or heavy liquid manure application). Weed management should be dealt with pre-planting as there are no herbicides available for Sorghum-Sudan grasses. Sowing at higher rates, 70 lbs or more, makes an excellent smother crop for fields with weed problems. Use them as part of a double crop program, to thicken up thinning alfalfa fields or to rotate out a weak or undesirable pasture. When following with a fall forage such as Italian ryegrass, alfalfa or pasture, we recommend disking the crop down in late August to early September to insure a good start for the next crop.
A soil test is highly recommended to establish a base line of fertility requirements. Under favorable growing conditions, apply 1 to 1.25 lbs. of nitrogen per day of planned growth. For example, for a planned 60-day harvest, apply 50 to 75 lbs. of nitrogen; for a subsequent planned 30-day cutting, reapply 30 to 37 lbs. of nitrogen. Reduce nitrogen rates for less than optimum growing conditions. Potassium levels should be kept up, particularly if the soil pH is lower than 6.2. If soil pH is above 7.0, a foliar application of iron may be necessary or Iron Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) may be a problem. This can be reduced by foliar feeding iron while plants are still young. Avoid large nitrogen applications prior to expected drought periods which can increase Prussic Acid concentration for several weeks after application.
Harvest schedules vary on the basis planting date, geographic location and weather.For the best quality and yield under a multi-cut program, harvest at 40 days or 40 inches of growth, which ever comes first. Sorghum species dry slowly because of their drought tolerance. One method of managing drydown in silage is to swath the crop, allow it to wilt to a desired moisture level, and then pick up the wind rows with a silage chopper. Protein will decline as harvest is delayed. Energy will increase upon heading due to continued sugar formation in the sorghum stalks and leaves, and carbohydrate deposition in the developing grain. Careful attention should be paid to the cutting height. For regrowth, 2 nodes or 6 inches of stubble is optimal. Sharp blades provide for a clean cut and enhance regrowth.
Do not harvest drought-damaged plants within four days following a good rain. Do not greenchop within seven days of a killing frost. Cut at a higher stubble height, nitrates tend to accumulate in the lower stalk. Wait one month before feeding silage to give Prussic Acid enough time to escape.
Sorghum Sudan crosses are a warm season or C4 grass. These warm season annuals can produce lots of forage in a short period of time during the summer months. Most grazing farms should have a percentage of their farm in sorghum sudangrass to help fill in the summer slump when the cool season pasture is slowing down. Warm season grasses process sunlight into sugars (photosynthesis) differently than do cool-season (C3) grasses. Heat, moisture and fertility will make Sorghum Sudan very productive. The rami-fications are that C4 grasses
- must be planted after soil temperatures reach 60°F and are rising,
- grow very little at less than 60°F,
- grow best at 77°F and higher and
- will produce a ton of silage at 1/2 the rain or irrigation than will corn silage.
Hot and dry is their ideal environment after germination. C4 grasses die soon after a freeze. These forages produce quick tons of highly digestible (high energy) silage or pasture. They are an excellent source of pasture for the hottest months. Other C4 grasses include all Sorghum and Sudans, plus Millet, Teff, Bermuda and Bahia grasses. When moisture is short they will wait for the rain.
BMR (brown mid-rib) is a natural trait (not GMO) that indicates low levels of lignin in the plant. BMR Gene 6 is the highest level of BMR, meaning it contains the lowest level of lignin of any sorghum or sudan. This trait transforms sorghum products from heifer feed, to the highest quality dairy cow feed. All Byron sorghums are from Alta and all are BMR Gene 6. This is a non-GMO trait.
Sorghum Sudan will be harvested for baleage or haylage in 45 days after planting. Grazing is usually initiated a week to 10 days earlier. Growth of Sorghum Sudan is very rapid once it reaches 2 feet tall or so. Rates of 4 inches a day are common. The taller varieties (AS6401, AS6501) are mowed when they reach 38″ to 40″ tall and the dwarf (AS6402) when it reaches 32″. Residue heights are also important. The taller versions must be mowed at 5-6″ residue (above the 2nd growth node) to allow for rapid regrowth. AS6402 can be mowed at 3″ and is one reason for its popularity. These cutting heights are essential as regrowth can be almost zero if the residual is too short. For haylage, longer chop length is needed for effective fiber.
Fertilization Utilizes manure nutrients very well. P, K, and other nutrients similar to corn silage. Fertilizer needs are 1 to 1 1/4 units of N per growing day, i.e. 45 to 50 units for first cut and 30-35 units for each cut thereafter. Potassium, phosphorous and sulfur are also needed on most farms. All fertilizer needs are the equivalent of the needs for 100 bushel corn. Manure can be used for the original application; however, commercial N is the best source after a cutting. If manure will be used after the first cut, choose AS6401, due to its superior disease package. We usually recommend to apply manure prior to seeding. Nitrogen needs for grazed sorghum Sudan are reduced proportionally so that cows can be brought in to graze earlier without danger of nitrate (NO3) poisoning. (See article on sorghum nutrition for more on NO3 and Prussic acid plus management of the crop after freezing weather.) If crop is light green or yellowish, either not enough nitrogen is available or soil conditions are too wet.
When mowing, make a wide swath to remove water as quickly as possible. Wide swathing makes a huge difference with Sorghum Sudan. Cutting Sorghum Sudan places a lot of material on the ground. For fastest drying, use a conditioner and spread the swath as wide as possible. Use a tedder to facilitate wilt.
Tags: Alta Seeds, AS6401 Alta, Seeds