Best Choice – Silage Operations
Forage sorghums are generally taller, produce more leaves, and are later maturing than typical grain sorghum hybrids. Most forage sorghums produce small heads compared to grain types, but some recently developed forage sorghums support grain yields similar to traditional grain sorghums. Many forage sorghums have a sweet stalk making them very palatable to livestock when used for grazing or hay production. Forage sorghums can produce very high biomass yields, but have limited re-growth potential making them excellent choices for single-cut silage and standing green-chop production uses. The soft dough stage is considered the optimum time for harvesting.
Best Choice – Grazing and Hay Production
Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are typically crosses between forage sorghums (female parent) and sudangrass types (male parent). They characteristically reach a height of six to eight feet, have smaller stalks than forage sorghum, strong tillering, and produce more tonnage than sudangrass. They have excellent re-growth potential compared to forage sorghums, but less than sudangrass. As with sudangrass, the excellent re-growth ability of sorghum-sudangrass hybrids makes them well suited for multiple harvest systems. The term “haygrazer” is typically applied to these hybrid crosses. Although, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are primarily used for grazing and hay production, they can be used for silage. If used for silage, the crop should be allowed to wilt before chopping to insure proper moisture content.
Best Choice – Grazing and Hay Operations
Sudangrass is smaller in plant architecture, has finer stalks, produces more leaves than forage sorghum and develops multiple tillers. Compared to forage or grain sorghums, sudangrass looks more like a “grass” plant. It possesses excellent re-growth ability with very quick recovery following cutting or grazing, compared to forage sorghum or sorghum-sudangrass hybrids. Total biomass tonnage for a single harvest generally will be less than yields of forage sorghum. Sudangrass is primarily utilized for grazing and hay production and can serve as an excellent cover-crop.