Don Nicholson, area agronomist for NCDA and other agronomist were point-men for educating producers about grain sorghum in 2012. Many producers gave it a try last year, and went back with it this year, but unfortunately, the 2013 rains made sorghum production a challenge:
“Everywhere across the state we had some interest and a lot of folks trying sorghum, some for the first time. It was a pretty bad year. Some folks did have some good yields but most did not because of the rain and disease problems. Looking at some test plots we put out, we saw that putting sorghum behind sorghum was probably not a good idea unless we are very astute at putting out fungicides.”
While Nicholson feels that this year’s challenges with grain sorghum may put some farmers off of it for good, he says they’re working on some test plots for other rotational benefits:
“My area has a lot of history with soybeans and bean nematodes. We really do think it’s a good rotational partner with soybeans. The beans behind sorghum seem to be a lot better. We are going to try to capture that data with some test plots next year and see what it does for the bean nematodes.”
But, in spite of this year’s struggles, Nicholson says some growers have really become committed to growing sorghum:
“We still feel like it’s a really good crop to have in the rotation. Grain prices now are probably going to hurt some of the planting. We still have growers who have committed to it and have had good luck and see a future on their farms.”
Regional agronomist with NCDA Don Nicholson.