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Early Sorghum Numbers are Profitable

For many producers, this is the first year to grow grain sorghum, and NC State corn & now grain sorghum specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger says it’s been a good year:

“The first time growers have done a good job. The big disappointment right now is we are just starting to see some of the wheat control break down as the sorghum matures. But for the most part, the fields are clean and uniform and really look good.”

One of the selling points of growing grain sorghum was to help clean up weed infested fields, Heiniger says that goal has been met in many respects:

“We have done that and in many cases the number of resistant weeds has been cut down by a significant amount and others were able to achieve a clean field. There were a few fields where something went wrong and they didn’t get as good of weed control, but about 95% of these sorghum fields are very clean and we will make a big dent in the resistant weeds.”

There are some early yield numbers in, and Heiniger says that they’re more than adequate to make a profit:

“I’ve heard yields from 80 to 110 bushels from some early sorghum. I would expect that to be the low end of the spectrum because it was the earlier planted sorghum that, like the corn, caught some of the heat from this summer. I think the later sorghum will be better.”

 And those are early numbers, yield of up to 140 bushels to the acre are common, and we should see some this year:

“Its about as good as you are going to grow at 140 bushels and we should have a lot of fields up in that count. But even at 80 bushels the guys are making money.”

Speaking of making money, Heiniger says this year’s sorghum has been a very low input crop:

“These growers have the seed costs and a lot of them have about 100 lbs of nitrogen in there and a single herbicide application. That is all the investment they have.”

NC State Extension corn & sorghum specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.