Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grain Sorghum Harvest

Grain sorghum stubble after combining
I've been relatively busy for the last month or so (or at least what passes for busy for me), which is why I haven't written much for awhile, although I've been thinking about a few things and pondering much so that might change.  

A few weeks ago, the grain sorghum planted in late-April was harvested and it was an awful disappointing harvest with yields even lower than I thought they would be.   One of the few bright spots in this year's attempt was that I'm pretty sure I know what caused the yields to be so much lower than expected, so now I think I know better what to do in the future whenever I'm trying to grow grain sorghum.

The main problem with this field was all the rain and cooler weather we had in May, which caused the grain sorghum to grow too slow after it first emerged, probably led to losing some of the nitrogen applied, and possibly also meant that the pre-emergent herbicide I used wasn't as effective at controlling volunteer sorghum-sudangrass.  I also shouldn't have let the sorghum-sudangrass that was planted last summer go the seed, if I had grazed or clipped it in late-summer when it started to reach maturity I don't think I would have had such a volunteer sorghum-sudangrass weed problem to deal with when the herbicide didn't control it completely. 

Despite those problems, test weights were pretty high (60 lb. per bushel) and the moisture levels were under the magical 14% number needed before the elevator will take a load of grain sorghum (until you've had to deal with a rejected truckload of wetter than you expected grain sorghum it's hard to understand how much of a relief being under that 14% number actually is).  Even though high test weights and optimum moisture levels mean there's no dockage when it comes time to sell, this field still didn't break even (in other words, more cash flowed out than flowed in), unless you include the value of the stubble.  If I was short on hay, I could easily bale enough hay from the stubble or get enough winter grazing to "make some money" off of this field. 

Hopefully, we'll get some rain sometime this month, I'll be drilling some wheat into this stubble, and  my wheat harvest will make up for the disappointing grain sorghum harvest.  Or, maybe a disappointing wheat harvest, drought, and low prices will be the final straw, and I'll start turning cropland into perennial pasture (I warned you that I've been thinking hard about a few things).