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Sorghum Fodder Farming - How to grow Sorghum Fodder

Sorghum fodder ready for harvesting

About Sorghum Fodder:

  • Sorghum is also an important feed component of dairy cattle and poultry feed.

  • Sorghum is a rich source of starch, protein and edible oil.

  • Sorghum produces good quality herbaceous fodder with high palatability.

  • Hence by providing sufficient quantities of fodder instead of costly concentrates and feeds to the milch animals, the cost of milk production can considerably be reduced.

  • Optimal growth conditions are 18-21°C average day-temperatures, annual rainfalls of more than 750 mm, and deep, well-drained rich soils.

  • However, Sorghum withstands annual rainfalls ranging from 230 to 4100 mm, a pH between 4.3 and 8.7, and a great variety of soils.

  • Frost kills the plants.

  • Drought is detrimental at flowering as it affects pollination and impairs yields.

  • Sorghum has no tolerance to flooding.

how to grow sorghum fodder

Sorghum Fodder - Method and time of sowing

  • Sorghum requires very fertile, well drained loamy soils having pH range of 5.5 to 8.0.

  • The crop grows best on alluvial or red soils but can also by grown on well drained black soils.

  • It does not thrive well on heavy soils, saline and alkali soils.

  • After preparing a fine seed bed the crop must be sown in lines (20-30 cm apart) by using seed drill or maize planter or by kera on para method.

  • Sowing time varies from place to place.

  • Sorghum has bold seed size.

  • It requires 50-60 kg seeds depending upon size.

  • Seed should be sown in lines spaced at 30 cm.

  • For summer sowing in irrigated areas, last week of February to last week of March-April is the appropriate time.

  • Rainy season crop is sown with the beginning of rains in June-­July.

  • Rabi crop is sown in October-November particularly in eastern and southern parts of the country.

  • In hills sowing is taken up in May.

Sorghum fodder

Water Management for Sorghum Fodder:

  • Irrigate immediately after sowing and give life irrigation on the third day and thereafter once in 10 days.

  • The maize crop is comparatively more to sensitive to excess moist and stress.

  • It requires 5-6 irrigation at 10-12 days interval during summer season

  • Requires 3-4 irrigation at 10-12 days during Rabi

  • And 1-2 during rainy season when rainfall interval exceeds 12 days.

How to fertilize sorghum fodder

How to fertilize Sorghum Fodder:

  • Sorghum responds well to the application farm yard manure and compost.

  • Apply 10 tons’ farm yard manure or compost per acre one fortnight before sowing.

  • In the absence of farm yard manure, it requires 110 kg urea per acre.

  • In addition to this in two split doses. Half of the urea should be applied at the time of sowing and remaining half 25-30 days after sowing.

Sorghum fodder - water management

Weeding Management for Sorghum Fodder:

  • Weeding has to be done in the Sorghum farm as weeds rob your plants of the benefits of the fertilise you apply.

  • Hence after 30 days, weeding has to be done for the plants.

  • If necessary, second spell of weeding can be done after 45 days

  • After that, Sorghum will grow very fast and densely.

Sorghum fodder after 60 days

Sorghum Fodder after 60 days of planting

  • Sorghum will become robust, tufted and has a vigorous root system, developing from nodes of its creeping stolons.

  • Sorghum by this time would have grown up to 6 feets in height.

  • They will form dense thick clumps, up to 1 m across.

  • The leaves will be flat, linear, and hairy at the base, 100 cm to 120 cm long, 1 cm to 5 cm wide and bluish-green in color.

Sorghum fodder - after 75 days

Sorghum Fodder after 75 days of planting

  • Sorghum is very palatable because the stalks are tender

  • It has a wide range of adaptability so that many farmers can benefit from it.

  • Harvesting is done at intervals of 60 to 70 days.

  • The first harvest, however, is made three months from planting.

  • Then succeeding harvests are every 60 to 70 days.

  • The stalks are cut close to the ground, and in no time, new shoots or ratoon will come out.

Sorghum fodder harvesting

Harvesting Sorghum Fodder:

  • The crop is ready for harvest at silk stage for fodder purpose, which continues up to milk stage.

  • The early harvesting though produce good quality fodder but yield is reduced.

  • In case of late harvesting, the fodder quality is impaired

  • Sorghum yields around 160-200 quintals of green fodder per acre during rainy season and 100-120 quintals of fodder per acre during summer season.

  • Palatability increases as hard stems when fermented into silage become soft and better utilized by the dairy animals.

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