Grain Sorghum Production

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1 Grain Sorghum Production 1

2 3 Important Topics we will cover today Grain Sorghum Growth and development Important to understand in order to make best management decisions. Building block for the other topics. Irrigation Management The Whens and Whys Fertility Management Setting yourself up for a successful crop 2

3 Critical Time Periods in a Sorghum plants life First days 8 height, growing point is at soil surface, changes from producing leaves to producing the head Next Days Rapid plant growth, producing much of the leaf area, head develops and stalks grow rapidly First the lower portion of the stalk grows, pushing the head up into the flag leaf Second the upper stalk (Peduncle) grows rapidly pushing the head out of the flag leaf sheath so flowering and pollination can begin Rapid Nutrient Uptake Final days Grain Filling, materials stored in the stalk are being moved into the grain and the plant is taking up 30-35% of the nutrients If drought occurs, both uptake and growth may be limited 3

4 Planting Date Early Maturity 86G32 Early Planting Full Maturity 84G62 Late Planting Early Maturity 86G32 Medium Maturity 85G85 April May June July August Sept Oct Vegetative growth Boot & Flowering Grain-filling period Stress 86G32 is a 106 CRM, 65 RM hybrid. It will bloom approximately 65 days after emergence and matures approximately 106 days after emergence. 85G85 is a 114 CRM, 69 RM hybrid. It will bloom approximately 69 days after emergence and mature approximately 114 days after emergence. 84G62 is a 120 CRM, 72 RM hybrid. It will bloom approximately 72 days after emergence and mature approximately 120 days after emergence. 4

5 Planting Date and Sorghum Yield TX High Plains Source: D.R. Krieg, TTU 5

6 Planting Date Effect on Tillering 6

7 Heads Per Acre Main Plant Head + Tiller heads Soil Temp of 60F at 2 depth for 5 mornings in a row, seeding rate affects how many heads/acre Tillers are important in dryland conditions. Results from favorable environmental conditions at the 4-6 leaf (~30 dap). Moderate Temps increase tillering, High temps decrease tillering Early Planted sorghum will have a higher tillering rate than late planted sorghum Source: Vanderlip, KSU,

8 3 Leaf Stage Date of Planting needs to be late enough to allow rapid growth during the 3 leaf stage or 10 days after emergence Plant growth rate is mainly dependent on temperature Slow growth and poor weed control can greatly reduce yield. 8

9 5 Leaf Stage Growing Point is still below the surface (3 weeks after emergence) Can handle leaf loss due to hail, but will not recover as vigorously as corn Potential for plant development is determined at this stage Correct any weed competition, nutrient or water deficiency, and insect damage at this stage or serious reduction of yields will occur Dry matter accumulates at a constant rate until maturity 9

10 Growing Point Differentiation 30 days after planting, 1/3 of the time from planting to maturity 7-10 leaves dependent on hybrid maturity Growth & nutrient uptake are rapid during GPD. Adequate supplies of water and nutrients are necessary to provide maximum growth Growing point changes from vegetative to reproductive. Total number of leaves have been determined Potential head size will soon be determined 10

11 Flag Leaf Stage 80% of the total leaf area is present Light interception is approaching maximum Growth & Nutrient Uptake continue at a rapid rate >40% of potassium has been taken up The head is developing and adequate supplies of nutrients and water are necessary to provide for maximum growth 1/17/

12 Boot Stage Rapid Growth & Nutrient uptake are continuing Severe moisture stress or herbicide injury during boot stage may prevent the head from exerting completely from the flag-leaf sheath Head size has been determined and exertion is initiating from the flag-leaf sheath 13

13 Half Bloom Following Boot the peduncle grows rapidly extending the head Characterized when flowering has progressed halfway down the head 50% of the dry weight of the plant has been produced Nutrient uptake is 70% N, 60% P, 80% K Grain formation is beginning limitations in plant size, leaf area, or plant numbers can no longer be corrected If conditions are favorable the sorghum plant has the ability to increase seed weight. Severe moisture stress can cause blasting and poor head filling Choose hybrid planting date and maturity wisely to avoid flowering in severe hot, dry weather. 14

14 Soft Dough Stage Final yield depends on dry matter accumulation and how long that is able to occur. Dry matter accumulation rates do not vary much among hybrids, stalk weights increase slightly following half bloom, then because grain is forming the stalk loses weight Loss in stalk weight accounts for up to 10% of the grain weight Later maturing hybrids have an advantage over early maturing hybrids if: Flowering does not coincide with severe moisture stress. The hybrid can mature before frost 15

15 Hard Dough Stage Nutrient uptake is essentially complete Severe moisture stress or frost before maturity will result in light, chaffy grain The stalk has declined to its lowest weight. 75% of the grain dry weight has been accumulated 16

16 Physiological Maturity Determined by the dark spot opposite side of the kernel from the embryo To reach max yields of silage or high-moisture grain, harvest as near to physiological maturity as possible The plant will not reach physiological maturity and proper moisture for harvest at the same time. Dependent on hybrid and weather conditions Moisture content is 25-35% at Physiological Maturity 17

17 Seeds Per Head Influenced by favorable environmental conditions from Flag Leaf Boot Stage Tremendous hybrid differences in ability to set and maintain high seed numbers under stress Blasting sterilization of the flowering parts by High temps inside the whorl of leaves in boot stage sorghum Utilize superior hybrids and managing planting dates to time sorghum heading with historically favorable weather patterns TWO INCH RAINFALL PROBABILITY VEGETATIVE VEGETATIVE BLOOM AUG 1ST HEAT STRESS BLOOM AUG 14 GRAINFILL GRAINFILL MATURE SEPT 15 MATURE OCT 1 KILLING FREEZE OCT 20 18

18 Seed Weight Determined after pollination through maturity Extreme heat and moisture stress after pollination can result in decreased seed set and seed size Hybrids with ability to yield under drought conditions will provide better seed fill. Time seed filling periods during reduced environmental stress Late planted sorghum cool temperatures can impact seed weight. Yield accumulation may be slowed as much as 50% when temps fall below 70F When temps increase after a cool period sorghum growth will re-initiate. Pioneer sorghum hybrids with a high color score rating will mature faster under cool fall conditions than lower rated hybrids Seed Weight can compensate for reduced seed number to a limited extent 19

19 Heat Units (GDUs) To Reach Different Growth Stages Growth Stage Early-Mid Hybrid Mid-Full Hybrid Emergence Leaf Leaf GPD (8 th Leaf) Flag Leaf Boot Heading Flowering Soft Dough Hard Dough Black Layer

20 2014 Weather Data Source: NOAA 21

21 I have never seen a field that was too thin Grain Sorghum Planting Rate Considerations 22

22 Planting Rate Considerations Hybrid Sorghum Seed Size varies, so planting in terms of pounds of seed/acre results in large differences in population and wastes money. Seeds/lb 2lbs/acre Hybrid #1 12,000 24,000 Hybrid #2 16,000 32,000 No Yield differences have been determined based on seed size Seeding Depth Heavy / Finer Textured Soils = at least1.5 Sandy / Coarser Textured Sols = at least 2 23

23 Plant Population Guidelines for Planting Date Mid April - Early May Dryland Grain Sorghum Feet of Stored Soil Moisture at Planting <3 feet 3-4 feet 4-5 feet 5-6 feet 16-20, , , ,000 Mid June 18-22, , , ,000 Late June- Early July 20-23, , , , lbs 2lbs 2-2.5lbs 2.5-3lbs Sandy soils need to be planted at the lower population of the range, where clay loam soils Should handle the higher population in a range. 85G01, 85G85, 85Y34, 86G32, 85P05, 87P06 are all suited for dryland production If population is managed properly 84G62, 85Y40 can perform on dryland 24

24 Planting Rates for Irrigated Sorghum 1.5 GPM 2 GPM 2.5GPM 3 GPM 3.5 GPM 4GPM >5GPM 20-23K 23-26K 26-32K 32-35K 35-40K 40K-55K 55K-65K 1.5lbs 2lbs 2.5lbs 3lbs 3.5lbs 4lbs 5lbs 84G62, 84P80, 85Y40, 85G03, 86G32, 87P06 25

25 1/17/

26 Irrigation Management for Sorghum Production 29

27 Grain Sorghum Water Use Tropically adapted plant that can handle a wide variety of conditions Extensive Fibrous Root system as deep as 5-6 feet Extracts 75% of water and nutrients from the top 3 feet Plants can use about 50% of the total available water w/out undergoing stress Irrigation on Sandy Soils will require more frequent and smaller irrigation applications Peak water use begins at the initiation of the reproductive stage = 0.3 /day 9 Days for all florets to pollinate with the 2 nd - 6 th day being the most important for an individual head. Fairly uniform blooming fields take about 24 days to complete bloom Termination of irrigation can be near soft dough stage if soil moisture is present, otherwise days after soft dough. 30

28 Irrigation Management Pre-Plant Irrigate if the soil profile is not full Irrigate at 35DAP to determine the # of seed/head Irrigate at Bloom DAP Irrigate 25 days after bloom DAP ROT: 1 of water can produce lbs of grain 31

29 4 5 d a p 6 0 d a p 3 0 d a p 90dap 1/17/

30 Irrigation Timing in Grain Sorghum Timing of Irrigation Yield (bu/a) Lbs/a Preplant Only 65 3,640 Pre + Boot Stage 125 7,000 Pre + Half-Bloom 115 6,440 Pre + Soft-Dough 114 6,384 Full Season Irrigation 125 7,000 Care should be taken to reduce plant stress during early panicle formation! (8 leaf stage) 33

31 Estimated Grain Sorghum Water Use Days after Planting Inches Per Day 0-30 (early plant growth (rapid plant growth) (boot-bloom) (grain fill maturity)

32 Yield Reduction From Moisture Stress at Different Growth Stages Growth Stage % Yield Reduction Emergence 8 th Leaf Boot Bloom Soft Dough Maturity

33 Normal Water Requirements Between Various Stages of Growth & Maturity Grain Sorghum ~ # Days to Maturity Water Use to Maturity Half Bloom Soft Dough Hard Dough Physiological Maturity

34 Common Mistakes Waiting too long to apply the first irrigation The head begins to form at 35 DAP, If stressed the number of seeds/head will be reduced Irrigating too late Do Not Irrigate after the hard dough stage, or after Physiological maturity No addition to yield Over-Planting Increases Plant Competition Reduces Head Size Increases chance for lodging Reduces Water Use Efficiency 37

35 Why Less Tillage Reduced Costs Can you Spray an Acre cheaper than tilling that same acre More Water Holding Capacity and Nutrient capture, Less Sandfighting, cool soil surface, reduce evaporation, increase infiltration Operation Custom Rate (&/acre) Operation Custom Rate ($/acre) Chiseling Spray 5.50 Disking 9.50 Herbicide 3.00 Field Cultivation 7.20 AMS 2.10 Total? Total How many times will you plow? How many times? Atrazine/Propazine? Field Efficiency Acres/hr, gallons fuel/hr for 90 sprayer vs 30 disk? 38

36 Tillage Operations and Water Loss Tillage Implement Moisture Loss (in) Disc 0.52 Chisel 0.50 Sweep Plow 0.14 Rod Weeder

37 Grain Sorghum Fertility Management 40

38 Grain Sorghum Fertility Management Grain sorghum responds to proper fertility management just like other crops Grain Sorghum has previously been treated as a catch-crop Balanced Soil Fertility Program improves Water Use Efficiency Table 2. Optimum Fertility Improves Water Use Efficiency Not Fertilized Fertilized Increase Due to Fertilizer Grain Yield per inch 2.99 cwt. ( cwt. (6.8 Bu.) 28% water Bu.) Grain Yield per Acre 33.5 cwt. (60 Bu.) 46.0 cwt. (82 Bu.) 36% Source: University of Nebraska -Lincoln 27 experiments (5 irrigated) over 3 years in Nebraska 41

39 Pop-up Fertilizers 4-5 gallons of or other high phosphate/low nitrogen fertilizer on most clay loam soils Include small amount of Zn 42

40 Nitrogen The nutrient most often limiting in Sorghum production Soil Testing should be the basis for determining which nutrients are limiting 1.2 Units/bu (0.21 units/lb) minus any N credits 30 lbs N/1000 lbs of grain Sorghum utilizes Nitrogen quite rapidly after plants reach the 5 leaf stage Time applications to be in place and available by rapid growth phase Starter Applications should be considered when potential for leaching is high Side Dress Nitrogen should be applied by the 5 leaf stage At Boot Stage 65-70% of total Nitrogen has been taken up, recommended 80% applied pre-boot and 20% applied post-boot Med-Early hybrids apply N 50 days after planting Med-Long hybrids apply N 60 days after planting 43

41 Phosphorus & Potassium Both are immobile nutrients in the soil and safe from leaching under most conditions 60% of Phosphorus is taken up by half bloom, prefer to apply preplanting. 6lbs P2O5/1000lbs of Grain Low & Very Low P levels from soil tests will show a response to applied P unless yield is restricted by insufficient moisture, but is erratic when on medium testing soils (40-60lbs P 2 O 5, K 2 O) K will generally not show a yield response to added fertilizer, but likelihood for deficiency will be greater on Sandy Soils. Potassium is promoted as the Stalk-Strength or standability nutrient. High rates alone will not provide total protection from crop lodging Proper fertilization of all nutrients will maximize standability 80% of the potassium has been taken up by half bloom 44

42 Other Nutrients Sulfur can be lacking on Sandy soils that are low in OM Ammonium Sulfate preplant or sidedress early Iron - If early deficiency symptoms are observed or occur every year, foliar treatments should begin as early as sufficient leaf area is present to intercept the material used days after emergence, common mistake is not starting early enough 20lbs of FESO4 in 100 gal H20 + 5gpa, applied in 7-10 day intervals until chlorosis subsides, increasing to 10 & 15 gpa as plant gains biomass Iron deficiencies can be intensified if large amounts of P were banded next to the seed row Zinc is often overlooked, but crucial for optimal sorghum production Soil Tests are great for predicting zinc need Zinc is most likely deficient in areas where topsoil has been removed 45

43 Sorghum Production Success Is a function of the amount of light energy that can be transformed into sugar/carbohydrates/growth Is dependent on lack of plant stress from insects, nutrients, light, and water Use foliar fungicides if season dictates Don t over-plant!! 25K/35K/45K Plant Thin to Win!! Use enough N&P and supplement with Zn Control Weeds! 47

44 Thank You For Your Time Follow Follow 48

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