Of Varieties Planting and Growing

varieties: You can use the seed of a sweet sorghum or a broomcorn like a grain sorghum if it happens to be a light-colored "yellow endosperm sorghum." But real grain sorghum is the best tasting, most healthy, most digestible sorghum grain. Grain sorghum varieties vary in height, from 2 feet, to a common 4V2 feet, up to even 15 feet or more. Most varieties have multicolored brown, yellow, and red seeds mixed in various degrees. The brown part contains tannin, so the more brown in the seed, the less pleasant the grain tastes to most animals or humans. (But chickens love the grain no matter what.) For the best grain sorghum, you want one that has a comparatively thin seed coat and none of that bitter taste. There are excellent new grain sorghums along those lines. Available from Redwood City, Bountiful Gardens, and DeGiorgi. Or get Black African, a drought-resistant and easily hand-threshed grain sorghum, from Seeds of Change.

Rotations and Double-Cropping: You can substitute sorghum for corn in any rotation and do fine. Southern farmers take advantage of sorghum's need for late planting to double-crop—for instance, with wheat as the first harvest followed by a grain sorghum crop. amount to Plant: You can expect to harvest 100-180 bushels per irrigated acre, 50-100 bushels per dryland acre, 25-50 from a half acre. For fractions of dryland acres, here are some optimistic estimates: 25 bushels per V4 acre, 12 per Vs acre, 6 per Vie acre. For every 4 rows, each 50 feet long, expect to harvest 1 bushel of grain. Plant in rows as you would corn—12 to 30 inches apart—about 10 days later than corn. But sorghum planted too thick may have weak stalks that tend to fall over. The specific amount to plant per unit area depends on variety, water availability, and how far apart you're making your rows. Typically, you'll need 2-4 lb. seed per ordinary dryland acre, or 8-10 lb. seed per well fertilized, irrigated acre. growing: Tend as you would corn, cultivating while the plants are young to keep out weeds. The biggest problem with growing yellow endosperm sorghum is usually that birds love it so much. If you have a small crop, you can protect the maturing clusters from birds by covering sorghum with paper bags.

Continue reading here: Harvesting Processing and Using

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