Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) : Planting season, Harvesting and Yield

Sorghum as green foliage is very popular in most parts of north India and nearly 2.5 million ha area is planted during kharif. In summer, under irrigated conditions, multi-cut sorghum is very popular.

Forage sorghum is characterized by quick growth, high biomass accumulation, and dry matter content and wide adaptability besides drought withstanding ability. It is also suitable for silage and haymaking.

Varieties

There are improved varieties and hybrids capable of yielding on an average 50 tonnes/ha in single cut varieties and up to 70 tonnes/ha in multi-cut varieties. The dual-purpose varieties and hybrids, CSV 15 and CSH 13 are suitable for both forage and grain production.

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A promising dual-purpose Kharif variety SPV 1616 was released as CSV 20 for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Gujarat. It has distinct superiority in fodder yield. An early high-yielding hybrid SPH 1290 has been released as CSH 23 for Kharif season for the Zones 2 and 3 during 2005. This hybrid matures early (103 days) and is superior to the early checks, CSH 14 and CSH 17 for grain and fodder yields. It is also relatively less susceptible to shoot fly, stem-borer and grain mold compared to the checks. A forage sorghum hybrid CSH 20 MF was released in 2005 dark green heavy foliage with green midrib. This has a medium thick juicy stem and resistant to foliar diseases.

Field preparation and sowing

Normally 2-3 harrowing is required before taking up planting as rainfed crop and sown with the onset of monsoon. A seed rate of 12-15 kg/ha for single-cut and 20-25 kg/ha for multi-cut sorghum is required.

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Optimum spacing is 45 cm between rows for multi-cut sorghum and 30 cm for single cut sorghum. In general, if you are following Natural farming practices then apply Jeevamrutham as per schedule else fertilizer application 100 kg N and 60 kg P2O5/ha for multi-cut sorghum and 80 kg N and 40 kg P2O5/ha for single cut sorghum is recommended. In forage sorghum, the mixed cropping is also practiced with fodder legumes, viz. cowpea and cluster bean, in 2:1 ratio to improve fodder yield and quality.

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Harvesting

Since HCN is present in sorghum especially in early stages up to 40-50 days, proper care has to be exercised during harvesting for avoiding HCN poisoning. Single cut varieties are harvested at 50% flowering to full bloom stage and in multi-cut varieties the first harvest is taken at 55 days after sowing and subsequent cuts at 40 days interval.

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