Grain Sorghum Good Choice for Peanut Rotation

Adding grain sorghum into the rotation made a big splash last year; farmers had a variety of reasons for adding the grain into double cropping systems. Mike McPherson, McPherson Brothers Farm in Abbotsburg, NC in Bladen County was pleased to find something that worked well with peanuts:

“Soybeans don’t work in peanut rotation. Soybeans will host diseases that rob peanuts of yield, so that is why you don’t need soybeans in a peanut rotation. Sorghum lets us grow wheat and protect our peanut rotation at the same time.”

2012 was the first year the McPherson’s planted sorghum, and they found out they had a lot to learn:

“We had some issues. We had the grain drill set to plant soybeans and then we started to plant sorghum and we found out we had to put the drill deeper. We made a mistake on some of it and had to re plant some. We also found out that 15” rows do better than 7.5” rows. Last year was a learning curve for sure.”

While pleased with the 400 acres of sorghum planted last year, McPherson’s farm will have fewer acres this year, he explains why:

“Some of the places we planted sorghum last year, we needed to plant corn because of the rotation had already been soybeans two years in a row and we didn’t want to put corn there because it was dryer land so we put sorghum instead. This year we will put in soybeans.”

All in all, McPherson found sorghum to be a fairly easy crop to grow:

“Once you learn the ins and outs it is not a hard crop to grow. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Last year we went heavy with the pre emergent herbicide and we got lucky that we didn’t have to go back over the top with other herbicide. Though we did spray one time for worms, it was a fairly low maintenance crop for us last year and we were satisfied with the crop and that is why we are keeping it in the rotation.”

2012 saw more than 70,000 acres of grain sorghum planted in the Carolinas.

Bladen County’s Mike McPherson of McPherson Brothers Farms


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