Friday, May 2, 2014

Planting Grain Sorghum (or Milo Depending on Where You're From)

I was able to fertilize a few days ago, so I spent today planting grain sorghum, and there seemed to be just enough moisture in the ground from that 0.600" of rain we got a few days ago that the planter operated just about perfect (which is unusual). 

I'd be surprised if anyone that actually planted grain sorghum ever read this blog, but just so I have a slim chance of remembering, I planted about 2.5 lb. of seed per acre (35500 seeds/acre) around 1.25" deep.   The recommended window to plant grain sorghum in my area is between April 20 and May 10, (or between June 5 and June 30 for double cropping after wheat) so I should be just about right if everything goes sort of right.  If we get a little rain this summer, it should be dried down and ready to harvest sometime in late August or early September. 

This year, I made an effort to really slow down when I was planting so I could get a better stand because whenever I'm pulling a drill I tend to go hell-bent-for-leather and that's not exactly the best way to pull  a planter.  So I spent almost 5 hours planting 40 acres with the radio blasting so I could still hear it through the hearing protection, with the windows open because the A/C still doesn't work right, looking back at the planter once in a while, and always trying to find the the mark made by the row marker out in front of the tractor.
Yep, the Planter is Still Back There
Planting is as "simple" as dropping the planter in the ground and lining up the hood ornament with the mark while trying to drive the tractor relatively straight (I'm surprised how straight those rows look in the picture).  

You'll notice that the tractor could really use a paint job, but shiny paint doesn't make me any money.

Don't Take Your Eyes Off That Mark or You'll Lose It
When I was finally finished, I took a picture of the hay meadow over on the hill (it's that tan spot just under the neighbor's green hay meadow).  The neighbor's hay meadow is green because he baled a second cutting of hay back in October, which means that his grass is shorter than short, but for now it does look greener than the grass in my hay meadow.
Finally Finished, Looking East Towards the Hay Meadow
After finishing, I just had to maneuver a planter that's about 24' wide through three gate openings that are just over 24.5' wide, then drive down a short road that's about 24' wide to get back to the barn while hoping I didn't meet an oil field truck barreling down the road.  

A day in the life of Rich.  


  1. My dad always told me when doing field work of any kind, it doesn't matter so much how crooked the rows are back in the field but when you can see them from the road, they had better be perfect!

    1. Every field is terraced around here and usually grows wheat, so crooked rows aren't as noticeable, but I usually try to put a little extra fertilizer and make double sure all the weeds are controlled close to the road. Plus, you have to make sure the fences look nice and tight in the places someone driving by might see them.

      I'm not as finicky over the hill away from the road.

  2. My daddy used to plant sorghum as a feed for our livestock. Of course, we had a real small farm so he probably only planted about 1/4- 1/2 acre in that. But with a horse and we harvested it by hand. I hated that stuff. lol!

    1. The first time I planted sorghum, when it came time to harvest it I had so much trouble with the combine plugging up with the stalks that I had to climb into the back to unplug it.

      Sorghum chaff is itchy as all get out and it irritated my nose so much that it started bleeding so much that by the time I crawled out of the back of that combine it looked like I had been wrestling a bobcat.

      If you had asked me my opinion of grain sorghum on that day my cussing would have taught a drill sergeant a thing or two in the fine art of swearing.