Then it started raining and raining and raining. The combination of a lot of overcast days, cooler than usual temperatures in May, and all that extra moisture seems to have really impacted my field of grain sorghum more than I thought it would have. All those conditions made everything grow much slower than normal, root systems weren't developed as deep as they should have been, and I'm guessing that I lost a significant amount of nitrogen.
|Grain sorghum starting to dry down with way too many volunteer sorghum "weeds"|
The volunteer sorghum-sudangrass blended into the grain sorghum and wasn't obvious until the grain sorghum was a couple of feet tall. In the worst spots, it looks almost like I planted a solid stand of sorghum-sudangrass, and of course those spots are right along the road so everyone that drives by can see how messed up my weed control was. I'm not even sure if I can combine those weedier spots, or whether I'd be better off just mowing or baling those spots.
The pre-emergent herbicide I used is supposed to control grasses like volunteer sorghum, but with all the rain it didn't seem to control it very good this summer. Grasses are difficult to control in a grain sorghum crop, and from what I know sorghums are almost impossible to control in grain sorghum especially once they get much above a few inches tall and it doesn't help that you can't tell them apart from the grain sorghum until they're about 2 foot tall.
The lesson learned is that the sorghum-sudangrass should have either been grazed or cut for hay in late-summer to make double sure there was no chance of any of it producing any amount of seed. Better yet, don't use something like sorghum-sudangrass as a cover crop if you're planning on planting grain sorghum the following year.
I've been wondering if I'd have an even bigger weedy mess out there if I'd planted a combination of sorghum-sudangrass, sunflowers, and cowpeas, then grazed it in the same way over the winter.
In about mid-September, I should hopefully be combining this field, so stay tuned for updates on how frustrating it can be to combine a mixture of grain sorghum and volunteer sorghum-sudangrass, how much money I either make or lose growing grain sorghum, and whether I decide to ever grow grain sorghum again.