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Time to Harvest Grain Sorghum in the Carolinas

Harvest is squarely in the headlights, and harvesters are running full speed. North Carolina’s first full-scale grain sorghum crop is ready to harvest. Dennis McCoy, Product Agronomist, Pioneer Hi-bred International advises to get sorghum out of the field as soon as possible:

“As this sorghum is maturing, it needs to get out of the field. It doesn’t weather very well. With the rain we are having now, mature grain sorghum could have the kernels sprout in the head that will damage the test weight. The longer the sorghum stays in the field, the lower the yield potential.”

And as sorghum is harvested, producers thinking about putting wheat behind grain sorghum should know a few things:

“Research has been done out of Kansas State that gives some indication that as the grain sorghum decays, especially the roots, it gives off chemicals that are damaging to wheat. The recommendation right now is not to plant wheat behind grain sorghum. Especially not no till wheat behind grain sorghum. Some are desiccating their sorghum to speed up the decay process, but with wheat planting starting in less than 30 days I don’t think there is enough time to be safe to plant a good wheat crop.”

Speaking of wheat, McCoy says that if you’ve not secured a supply of wheat seed, it should be done yesterday:

“Right now the projection is that wheat acres are going to increase from last year, and last year was a record high. Even though certified seed growers had good wheat yields this year, just because of the commodity price and the increase in demand, wheat seed is short this year. Farmers will see higher prices for the seed and need to be taking good care of it by calibrating their equipment and making sure they are getting the proper seeding rate and depth.”

For more In the Field Reports from Pioneer Hi-bred, click here.

Dennis McCoy product agronomist with Pioneer Hi-bred. 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.