Best timing of harvest for brown midrib forage sorghum yield, nutritive value, and ration performance
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Lyons, Sarah; Ketterings, Quirine; Godwin, Greg; Cherney, Debbie; Cherney, Jerome; Van Amburgh, Michael; Meisinger, John; Kilcer, Tom
Forage sorghum is a drought- and heat-tolerant warm-season grass that can be used for silage on dairy farms. Since it requires a soil temperature of at least 60°F for planting, the recommended planting time for New York is early June, unlike corn, which is usually planted earlier in the spring. This would allow time for a forage winter cereal harvest in mid- to late-May prior to sorghum planting. Forage sorghum also has comparable forage quality to corn silage for most parameters except for starch, which is typically lower in forage sorghum. The main question for this research was: Can forage sorghum be harvested in time for establishment of a fall cover crop or winter cereal double-crop in New York? To answer this question, we conducted seven trials in central New York from 2014 through 2017 to evaluate the impact of harvesting at the boot, flower, and milk growth stages versus the traditional soft dough stage on the yield and forage quality of a brown midrib (BMR) forage sorghum variety.
forage; sorghum; BMR; midrib; brown; cover; crop
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