NC Grain Specialist: Still Too Early to Plant Grain Sorghum

As we’ve been reporting, interest in grain sorghum in the Carolinas this year has been enormous. Dr. Ron Heiniger, NC State corn specialist, along with Dr. Randy Weisz, NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist are acting as the information point team for sorghum producers. Heiniger says that interest generated through the winter has continued:

“Well, we have had a lot of sorghum information requests over the last…well actually several months. It’s a little early right now for sorghum, even though soil temperatures are warmer than normal, I’ve still been advising to wait on sorghum. But, yeah, we have heard a lot of interest in grain sorghum, and I do know growers are anticipating getting in the field with some sorghum here after the first of May.”

While corn planting got an early start this year, Heiniger warns producers planning on growing full-season grain sorghum that planting early isn’t the best advice:

“Ideally, we should be planting sorghum in those first 15 days of May, if you’re doing a full-season, and then of course, we’ll be doing a second season as a double-crop behind wheat. But, for those sorghum producers that want to get started early, they need to be waiting until right after the first of May, even with the soil temperatures the way they are, we’re still going to see some cool days, just like we did last week, and we’ve got to avoid those with sorghum. So, that’s why we’re waiting.”

Early estimations are that there will be up to 50,000 acres of grain sorghum planted in North Carolina this year.

Dr. Ron Heiniger, NC State Extension corn, and now sorghum specialist. 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.