Fodder sorghum

(Sorghum bicolor)

Sorghum - Field view

Fodder sorghum - Cholam / Jowar

  • Sorghum is believed to be indigenous to Africa, although India and China are claimed to be the home of certain varieties of sorghum.
  • It is cultivated mainly for grain and also for fodder. In USA , certain types with sweet and juicy pith are grown for manufacturing syrup. These syrup types are also used as forage sorghums, in preference to those with dry pith.
  • Sorghum is a drought resistant crop. It thrives in tropical climate with a temperature range of 25-35oC. It is not suited to higher elevations (more than 1200 m). It can be grown under an annual rainfall of 300-350 mm. it can be grown on any soil except on very sandy soils.
  • Sorghum is a short day plant and 10 hours photoperiod results in earliest flowering. It is mostly grown in kharif season as rainfed crop and during summer under irrigation.

Season and varieties

  • Irrigated (Jan - Feb and Apr - May)
    • All districts                 Co.11, Co. 27, Co.F.S. 29
  • Rainfed (Jun - Jul)
    • Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruchirapalli, Perambalur, Karur, Thanjavur: Co.11, Co27, Co.F.S.29
  • Rainfed (Sep - Oct)
    • Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi: K7, Co.27, Co.F.S. 29, K 10

All the grain types and hybrids can as well be grown for fodder purpose. Usually varieties with thin stem and more leafy nature are used for cultivation as fodder.

  • Some of the common fodder varieties cultivated in North India are  P.C.-6, P.C. - 23, M.P. chari. U.P. chari - 1, and 2, Raj chari -1 and 2, H.C. - 171, H.C. - 260 and all these varieties are single cut types.
  • SSG 59-3 is developed by crossing sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense) with sorghum. It is called as sweet sudan grass. It is a multicut variety. Co.F.S. 29 is also a multicut variety and released by Tamil Nadu Agricultural Univeristy during 2001. It is cross between TNFS 9602 and Sudan grass. There are other multicut varieties such as Hara sona, X-988 etc. Some varieties of sorghum are developed for dual purpose i.e. for both grain and fodder, and are as such tall types.

Preparation of the field (Irrigated cholam)

  • Ploughing the Field
  • Application of FYM
    • Spread 12.5 t/ha of FYM or compost on the unploughed field, along with 10 packets of Azospirillum inoculant (2000 g).
    • Incorporate the manure into the soil during the ploughing.
  • Forming Ridges and Furrows
    • Form ridges and furrows of 6 m long and 30 cm apart.
    • Form irrigation channels across the furrow using a ridge
    • If ridges and furrows are not made, form beds of size 20 m 2 depending on the availability of water.
  • Application of Fertilizer
    • Apply NPK fertilizer as per soil test recommendation as far as possible. If soil test is not done, follow the blanket recommendation of 60: 40: 20 kg NPK /ha respectively.
    • Apply half the dose of N and full dose of P2O5 and K2O basally before sowing.
    • In case of bed planted crop, mark lines to a depth of 5 cm and 30 cm apart. Place the fertilizer mixture at a depth of 5 cm along the lines. Cover the lines upto 2 cm from the top before sowing.
    • Application of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium together as a mixture along with 75% recommended dose of N and P fertilizer enhanced the yield besides saving of 25% of fertilizer dose.
  • Sowing
    • Maintain a seed rate of 40 kg/ha ( 12.5 kg only for Co.F.S. 29).
    • Sow the seed over the lines where the fertilizers are placed at a depth of 2 cm and cover with soil.
    • Treat the seeds with 3 packets Azospirillum (600 g) / ha .

  • Water Management
    • Irrigate immediately after sowing and give life irrigation on the third day and there after once in 10 days.
  • Weed Management
    • Along with the first hand weeding on 20 th day after sowing, thin the seedlings and gap fill with the thinned out seedlings thus maintaining a spacing of 15 cm between plants. Second hand weeding may be done between 35-40 days after sowing if necessary.
  • Application of Insecticides
    • Spray any one of the following insecticides on the 10th and 17th day of sowing to control shootfly.
    • Endosulfan 35 EC 500 ml/ha. Methyldematon 25 EC 500 ml/ha; Dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml/ha in 250 ltrs. of spray fluid.
    • Apply any one of the following insecticides on the foliage on the 30th day of sowing.
    • Endosulfan 35 EC 750 ml/ha: Carbaryl 50 WP 1.0 kg/ha (or) apply any one of the following dust on the leaf whorl at 10 kg/ha mixed with sand to make up to 50 kg. Carbaryl 10 D or Endosulfan 4 D.
  • Top Dressing Fertilizers
    • Apply the balance 50% of N (30 kg N/ha) along the lines on the 30th day after sowing and irrigate.
    • Sorghum plants contain HCN in the form of Dhurrin (a precursor for HCN) particularly in the early stages. It is dangerous to animals when it exceeds 750 ppm.
    • Usually hay and silage are free from HCN and SSG 59-3 is also free from HCN. Sorghum can be harvested after flowering stage for green fodder.
    • If it is a single cut, it should be harvested at 60-65 days (50% flowering) after sowing and if it is a multicut, the first cut is 60 days after sowing and a second, 40 days after the first.
    • For Co. F.S. 29, each harvest has to be done at 65 days interval )5 harvests in an year).

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Last modified: Wednesday, 21 December 2011, 8:52 AM