Forage Characteristics

Alta Seeds forage sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass and sudangrass hybrids are selected to provide farmers with high performance seed to meet their forage needs.  Our hybrids feature the latest technology and advanced genetics.  Below is a list of the forage characteristics offered by Alta Seeds.
Brachytic Dwarf close-up
Brachytic Dwarf – There are four dwarfing genes in sorghum which control height. These genes produce a type of dwarfism known as “brachytic dwarfism”, which reduces the length of the internodes without affecting other agronomic plant characteristics, such as leaf number, leaf size, maturity or yield/biomass production. Brachytic Dwarf sorghums typically grow to about 6 feet tall and produce comparable tonnage to taller hybrids by producing more leaves and more tillers. Sorghums with this trait have very high leaf to stalk ratios, prolific tillering, superior standability, and comparable tonnage to normal height sorghums.

Brown Midrib-6 – The Brown Midrib-6 characteristic reduces the lignin content of sorghum stalk and leaves, which translates into a higher percent digestibility and increased palatability, supporting more cattle weight gain and increased milk production similar to Brown Midrib Forage Sorghumcorn silage.  Lignin is the primary non-digestible component of forages – the higher the lignin percentage the lower the digestibility and quality. BMR-6 sorghums have 40% to 60% less lignin compared to conventional sorghums and BMR-6 sorghum silage has similar, and often times better nutritive value than corn silage.  BMR-6 is highly superior to other BMR types, which include BMR-12 and BMR-18 hybrids.

Male Sterility – The male sterile hybrid forage sorghums eliminate the hazards of volunteer re-growth.  Sorghum is normally a self-pollinated crop, but cross- pollination can occur. Male sterile plants produce no anthers and thus no pollen for self-fertilization. If no pollen source is nearby to cross pollinate, then male sterile plants will produce no grain. The sugars and protein produced and stored in the vegetative portions of the plant will not be mobilized from the stalk and leaves because these nutrients are not needed for grain development. Thus, male sterile sorghums maintain excellent forage quality and palatability. When combined with the BMR 6 trait, male sterile forage sorghums will have higher energy content than other hybrids that produce grain.  These hybrids work best for growers looking for silage without grain.

Dry Stalk – The dry stalk characteristic reduces crop moisture in sorghum and sudangrass.  Forage sorghum hybrids with this trait allow growers to ensile the harvested crop at reduced moisture levels with less opportunity for spoilage.  When harvested at the soft dough stage, forage sorghums with the dry stalk characteristic have approximately 64% to 69% moisture content.

Photoperiod Sensitive – Photoperiod sensitive (PS) sorghums initiate flowering in response to day length. One of the most important factors affecting the flowering response in plants is light, and plants have differing photoperiod requirements for triggering their reproductive response (e.g. heading). Plants can be separated into three categories in response to photoperiod – short-day, long-day and day-neutral plants. Actually it is the light and dark period acting together that controls the response.

The PS sorghums will not initiate heading until the day length becomes less than about 12.5 hours. Consequently, PS sorghums will remain vegetative from mid-March through September. The advantage of this trait allows the plant to remain vegetative for most of the season, adding new leaves and maintaining very high quality forage. This allows flexibility in timing the harvest, eliminating issues associated with weather or availability of custom harvesters. Remember, forage quality starts to decline once the sorghum plant initiates heading and flowering.

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