What is in this article?:
- Mid-Atlantic growers eye sorghum, wheat double-crop
- Looking to generate dollars
• As with many sorghum acres, particularly new acreage, many wheat, soybean and cotton farmers are curious as to how sorghum will fit into their enterprise rotation.
• With most farmers eyeing the high wheat prices, it is likely many double-cropped acres of wheat will follow this year’s sorghum crop.
• As expected with any double-crop scenario, pros and cons exist.
Looking to generate dollars
The economic balance of double-cropping is trying to make the total of two crops (one short and one regular season) more profitable per acre than a single full-season crop. Depending on the weather, commodity prices and other market drivers, rotations can fluctuate in the dollars generated.
Sorghum still offers many opportunities to become part of a summer rotational cropping system.
“I have been using a wheat and sorghum rotation for 40 years, and it works very well for my farming system,” said Dodge City, Kan., farmer Greg Shelor, chairman of the Sorghum Checkoff crop improvement committee.
“With modern technology, such as no-till and seed treatments, we typically see very little yield drag (2 to 4 bushels per acre) on no-till wheat behind sorghum and no measurable yield drag on our conventional-tillage operations when wheat follows sorghum.”
If you are a Mid-Atlantic farmer considering planting wheat following your sorghum crop, then below are a few management techniques sure to make your wheat-sorghum rotation a success.
The following is a list of best management practices.
Tips for wheat after sorghum
• Make sure pre-plant nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfar are at the high end of recommended levels.
• Burying sorghum residue with tillage can help reduce allelopathy if present.
• Use glyphosate to kill the sorghum prior to harvest. This will stop regrowth and may help reduce potential allelopathy if present.
• If planting no-till wheat, remember to increase your seeding rate over conventional-till rates.
For more information, follow these links:
• North Carolina: http://www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/_Pubs/PG/Srates.pdf
• No-till wheat is not common in the South Carolina coastal plains.
• Strictly monitor wheat tiller development. Growers are encouraged to check tiller density around Growth Stage 25 (usually in late January or early February) and apply an early N split if needed. For more information, follow these links:
• North Carolina: http://www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/tiller-counting.html
• Virginia: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/424/424-026/424-026.html
• South Carolina producers can get the 2012 “Wheat Cheat Sheet” from their local Extension office.
• Higher nitrogen rates for wheat at growth stage 30 should be considered to overcome nitrogen tied-up in sorghum residue. Tissue testing to determine optimal spring nitrogen rates is highly recommended for growers in
• North Carolina: (http://www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/_Pubs/PG/Nitrogen.pdf)
• Virginia: (http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/424/424-026/424-026.html)
• Information about wheat nitrogen management in South Carolina can be found in the 2012 “Wheat Cheat Sheet” from their local Extension office.