Written by Gayle Smith and originally appeared on www.wylr.net
During the last several years, scientists have studied ways for producers to feed their cattle while resting their pastures. Because of that research, plant breeders have developed more annual varieties of forages that are taller and can produce more tonnage than traditional varieties.
Many annuals are now available for grazing.
Some of the most common cool season annuals are oats, spring triticale, spring barley, field peas, Italian or annual ryegrass, turnips, radishes and winter wheat or rye.
Warm-season annuals like millet, S-S hybrids, sorghum, sudangrass, crabgrass, teff and corn are also popular choices.
Moving beyond tradition
Where ranchers were once limited to traditional annuals like winter wheat, rye or triticale, they can now plant other annuals like field peas, turnips and radishes, according to University of Nebraska Range and Forage Specialist Jerry Volesky.
“Annuals can be a good fit with a grazing program,” Volesky says, “but planning ahead of time is crucial.”
Some of the traditional annuals like winter wheat, rye and triticale are planted in September and grazed the following spring.
“Triticale is the most productive of the winter annuals,” Volesky says. “It will average four to five tons per acre. Common winter rye averages 3.5 tons to the acre. If they are harvested at the soft dough stage, both can be high quality forages with good protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN).”
Spring-seeded small grains, like field peas and oats, can be planted and grazed in the spring. Turnips and radishes can be planted and grazed in the fall or spring, Volesky adds.
“Spring-seeded oats can produce three tons of dry matter yield,” Volesky says. “Other spring forages, with a late March or early April seeding date, shouldn’t be grazed until they are six to eight inches in height, which is generally around the third week of May.”
Volesky shares the different ways for animals to utilize the forage.
“Grazing is not as efficient as haying these annuals,” he says.
Grazing interrupts plant growth more than haying because haying takes place toward the end of the plant’s growing cycle. If a cow grazes off the growth point of an oat plant, any future growth of the tiller of that plant will be lost.
Losses can also occur from trampling.
One method becoming more popular is haying annuals, like millet, in the fall and leaving the hay in windrows for cattle to mob graze in late-winter or early spring. This requires a little more planning because producers will need to place electric fence around the perimeter of the field, unless the field has permanent fence.
The producer will also have to build electric fence within the field that can be easily moved every day or two as the cattle graze out the windrows.
Cool-season annuals, like oats and turnips, can be grazed after freeze-down or also by windrow grazing.
Volesky researched utilizing windrow grazing during the summer with winter rye and showed the importance of harvesting the crop at the optimum maturity so the animals will utilize it efficiently in the windrows.
Producers who wish to use this method of grazing will need to determine the correct stocking rate, so they know how many windrows to give the cattle access to at one time.
“This can be a very efficient form of grazing if it is done properly,” Volesky said.
Producers are always concerned about stocking density, especially when grazing annuals. Volesky said he likes to use an animal unit (AU) concept, based on one animal unit is equivalent to a 1,000 pound animal, and one AU month (AUM) as equivalent to 780 pounds of forage. This is based on 30 days in a month where 26 pounds of forage is consumed per day. A cow/calf pair is considered 1.5 AU, and a weaned calf weighing 500 pounds is considered 0.5 AU.
When working with annuals, it is important to consider grazing efficiency.
“A rule of thumb is 1.3 AUMs are available per ton of potential forage,” he says, assuming 50 percent grazing efficiency
The most important factor Volesky has garnered from his research is that producers need to plan ahead if additional grazing will be needed. The plants will need adequate time to grow to the appropriate stage or height before they are grazed, he says.
Producers should also consider planting different types of annuals that can be rotationally grazed and to stagger the planting dates of warm season annuals to prevent them from growing too rapidly before they can be grazed.
“Producers will want to start grazing these annuals at a younger stage of growth or at a shorter height,” he explains. “Animals can be added as needed depending upon the growth of the forage.”
Producers should have a backup pasture in case plants are consumed quicker than expected or the stocking rate doesn’t work out as planned, he says.
Volesky adds, “It is important to have something to fall back on.”
This article originally appeared on www.wylr.net and was written by Gayle Smith.
Forage Sorghum for Crop Rotation - Forage sorghum can be a good crop to use in rotations to break insect and disease cycles compared to continuous corn. For example, corn rootworm larvae cannot survive on sorghum roots, so sorghum after corn can reduce the need for insecticide. Corn after sorghum can sometimes still be a problem because rootworm adults can lay eggs in sorghum, especially if sorghum is flowering after corn silking. Scout for this situation before going back to corn.
Herbicide Choices - Sudangrass, forage sorghum, and sorghum-sudan hybrids will tolerate moderate levels of atrazine; and safened seed is required if using Dual or Bicep-like herbicides containing s-metolachlor. The full list is attached for herbicide choices from the UNL herbicide guide. http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec130/build/ec130%20weed%20control%20by%20crop.pdf
Keep in mind there are fewer choices labeled for herbicide use in forage sorghum compared to corn on pre- and post-application strategies.
Seeding Rate - Use 6 to 12 pounds per acre for forage sorghum. Use the lower rates in dry areas and higher rates in humid and irrigated areas. Higher seeding rates will help produce finer stems, which is often desirable for pasture and hay. The use of 15-inch rows may help standability because stems may get thicker when plant-toplant competition is reduced.
Nitrogen Recommendation - Recommendations are in http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec155/
build/ec155-12.pdf. Fertilize according to your yield goal which is also tied to moisture in the profile at seeding time. It is important to check soil for residual nitrogen before fertilizing to further fine tune nitrogen rate.
Seeding Timing - Soils should be above 60°F when sorghum is planted. Seedings made in late May and early June usually give good results in Nebraska. For Southeast Nebraska and southern tier counties we can push this up a couple weeks, however, the first week of May can be very risky. May 15th plantings are generally ok if seed is fungicide treated.
No-Till Planting - No-till planting techniques can save water, increase forage yield on rain-fed land, save labor, be beneficial to soil health and provide residue cover from the previous crop to protect the soil surface and moderate soil temperatures in the summer to the benefit of microbial activity. Make sure your drill or planter has enough weight and down pressure to cut and handle the residue and get the seed to the proper seeding depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep in the soil.
Fall Cover Crop - Because forage sorghum is planted relatively late during the spring planting season, cover crops such as cereal rye can be seeded the previous fall and be used for early spring grazing, hay, or greenchop before planting sorghum. Pay close attention to the timing of spring cover crop harvest, though to avoid excessive use of soil moisture and to plant sorghum on a timely basis.
Feed Value of Forage Sorghum for Silage - For silage use, choose forage sorghum varieties and hybrids with high grain production for best tonnage and feed value. As silage, forage sorghums usually yield more dry matter per acre than dryland corn, and will yield similarly to corn under irrigation. However, yields of TDN (total digestible nutrients) per acre are usually lower from forage sorghums than from corn. Generally, forage sorghum silage has 75 to 85 percent of the energy value of corn silage per unit of dry matter, while other summer annual grasses have 60 to 80 percent of the value of corn silage.
Brown Mid Rib Trait or BMR - Strongly consider using sorghums with the BMR trait, especially for growing
calves or any cattle with higher nutrient demands. Newer cultivars have overcome most, but not all, increased lodging risk. Work with a reputable seed dealer. Use a good forage sorghum grain producer, bred for silage. Cautions (After Cutting the Forage Sorghum for Silage) - Grazing of forage sorghums is not recommended. They usually contain much higher levels of prussic acid risk than other summer annual grasses and can be dangerous to graze even when plants are completely headed, especially when young shoots are present. Grazing regrowth or young plants before a killing freeze after silage harvest would be a very high risk or dangerous situation with cattle.
Forage Sorghum Silage Tips - Forage sorghums are usually tall growing and mature late in the growing season. Often called “cane,” forage sorghums have sweet and juicy stems. Many have relatively small grain heads. Choosing 8-10 foot hybrids with a good grain head eliminates these problems, as grain matures and dries enough that silage can be cut in September in a timely manner. Moisture content at time of ensiling is the most important factor influencing fermentation. The moisture content should be 70 percent or less for good preservation in upright silos. Silage between 70 and 75 percent moisture can be stored in trench or bunker silos. Silage inoculants can pay off especially well when moisture is in upper range. Some forage sorghums contain over 80% moisture throughout the growing season. Shorter hybrids (6 to 8 foot)
with relatively high grain potential are more likely to dry down to proper ensiling moistures in September as grain matures. For wetter sorghums, several options are available to reduce the moisture content to more desirable levels. Sometimes the crop can be cut, windrowed, and field wilted to the correct moisture content. This can be difficult, though, because the crop dries slowly and regrows rapidly when soil moisture is adequate. Forage sorghum also can be cut soon after a freeze causes plants to begin drying while standing in the field. Timing harvest after a freeze can be challenging, however, because the severity of the freeze will influence how rapidly the standing crop dries. The risk of the crop lodging also increases as the standing crop dries. Dry feed can be added to high-moisture forage to reduce the overall moisture level. When using this practice of mixing, mix well when trying to adjust moisture with another feedstuff.
Pricing Forage Sorghum - We suggest pricing sorghum silages in relation to corn silage of the same moisture content. Forage sorghums with fairly high grain yield in relation to forage (sorgo types) usually have 80 to 90 percent the value of corn silage per unit of dry matter.
This article originally appeared on the University of Nebraska Lincoln website. We appreciate authors Randy Prior, Bruce Anderson and Paul Hay for allowing us to repost. Click Here to view the original article.
This article originally appeared on southwestfarmpress.com, and was authored by Jason P. Ott (Texas AgriLife Extension)
A 2013 outbreak of an invasive aphid caused from 25 percent to 50 percent yield loss and total yield loss in some unprotected grain sorghum fields in Texas, including Nueces County. Neighboring starts also identified the pest.
According to work by Michael Brewer and Mo Way, with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, infestations were initially observed after sorghum heads were developing, but likely began infesting the crop earlier.
The aphid may be a new variant of sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari, which has a high preference for sorghum, or a very closely related species (M. sorghi). Infestations detected were heavy, often with hundreds of sugarcane aphid per leaf.
Leaves became sticky and shiny from honeydew and coated with sooty mold fungus (grows on honeydew), which hampered harvesting operations. Heavy sugarcane aphid populations and honeydew/sooty mold fields were observed in the lower Rio Grande Valley, the Gulf Coast, central Texas Blacklands, and northern counties bordering the Red River, as well as in southern Oklahoma along the Red River and from southwest to northeast Louisiana.
Fall populations on remnant sorghum of harvested fields and johnsongrass have been detected in many of these counties, including Nueces County, positioning the aphid for possible outbreaks in 2014.
Early insecticide trials conducted by Way, Brewer, and others have identified early management options. Natural enemies also feed on sugarcane aphid.
Researchers compared four insecticidal treatments to an untreated control on sugarcane aphids in a field in China, Texas. The field had been previously treated with Lorsban 4E two to three times, but sugarcane aphid populations were still high at the time of application of test treatments. Insecticidal treatments included Lorsban Advance, Transform WG, Karate Z, and Dimethoate 4EC. All treatments provided a significant level of control compared to the untreated check except for Karate Z four days after treatment.
Entomologists encourage producers to scout sorghum fields early in the growing season and at least through early head development in 2014 to facilitate a timely insecticide application, if needed. While this aphid is of particular concern in 2014, growers should also be prepared for more common sorghum pests. Therefore, in addition to scouting, entomologists encourage sorghum producers to use systemic insecticide seed treatments or in-furrow insecticide applications, plant early to prevent midge problems, and use suggested insecticides for rice stinkbug.
As 2014 gets underway, cotton growers in the Texas Coastal Bend are preparing fields for seeding, but after another year of drought disaster that destroyed 90 percent of cotton acres across the region in 2013, many are looking to grain sorghum as a drought-tolerant alternative.
Many area farmers are expected to crowd into the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown Thursday, January 9, when the Sorghum Checkoff and other sponsors open the doors on the 2014 Sorghum U, a farmer focused educational program designed to bring growers up-to-date on the latest developments and news related to the popularity of growing grain sorghum as an alternative crop.
The one-day educational series will provide growers with information about the changing business environment for farmers, using technology efficiently, managing sorghum for top yields, marketing strategies, and lessons learned from farmers in previous growing seasons.
Of particular interest to growers will be a special presentation of the latest research on grain sorghum at the USDA Cropping Systems Research Laboratory in Lubbock.
Laboratory Director and Research Team Leader Dr. John Burke will offer growers the latest report on sorghum breeding programs and news about the development of new varieties currently underway by at least six major seed companies.
"The research we have been doing at the USDA plant stress lab is related to water and temperature stress on crops. Our team has been conducting screening of germplasm collections for sorghum lines for cold tolerance, in other words, we have been looking for plants that germinate earlier in the season and demonstrate early season vigor," Burke says.
So far the team has been able to develop plants that germinate at temperatures in the low 50s, a breakthrough that makes the plant more adaptive to early planting schedules.
But the research team focus has also been on drought stress. Burke says the team has discovered a chemical in sorghum plants that directly relates to how much pre- or post-flowering drought tolerance the plant can exhibit. Through laboratory breeding programs, Burke says the team has developed traits that allow for higher drought tolerance and lower water demands.
"Our third approach to developing better sorghum plants, the next focus of our research, is perhaps one of the most exciting. Our team took a line called BTX 623, the first sorghum line in which all of the plant's genes were sequenced. We chose that line because we wanted to go in and make mutants using a compound known as EMS, and we have been able to identify two new genes associated with the Brown Midrib trait," Burke reports.
He says the Brown Midrib variety is best suited as a forage or energy plant and the new research uncovers its potential for development as a primary energy crop that could one day replace corn as the energy crop of choice.
"The advantage to the mutant variety is that the stalks tend to dry out quickly at seed maturity, similar to what happens in corn, so the drying stage of the crop becomes much more efficient, a requirement for a good energy crop," he added.
Burke says this is good news for growers in the Deep South where a killing frost comes either late in the season or not at all. He says in such cases input costs spiral with the need to introduce defoliants to the crop, a step that potentially can be eliminated by the introduction of this new breed.
The research team has also developed varieties that are called 'stiff stalks,' or sorghum plants that resist lodging.
"You can grab these with your hand and pull and twist them and they won't fall over," Burke explained.
But of most significance is a new variety he is calling a tri-seed plant.
"Normally, when sorghum is produced and you look at the head, there are three flowers there. The one at the center is fertile and will make a seed, but the two on either side of it are not fertile and will not make a seed. As you go down the stem you will see this pattern replicated several times. But in a new variety developed through breeding at the lab, all the flowers set seed, so we have nearly doubled the number of seeds at the head," Burke said.
"Yield is everything of course, so when we discovered a way to correct what nature apparently messed up, we realized we were developing a new trait, a new variety that has the potential of yielding a great deal more than existing varieties, and this has profound implications for the future of grain sorghum."
Sorghum U 2014, sponsored and made possible by the Sorghum Checkoff, Sorghum Partners, CrustBuster/Speed King Inc., and others, will be staged at four strategic locations including Texas, Kansas and Nebraska.
“The Sorghum Checkoff is committed to increasing producer profitability, and we believe the Sorghum U education program is an excellent opportunity to help producers do just that,” said Dr. Justin Weinheimer, crop improvement program director for the Sorghum Checkoff. “Sorghum U will showcase regionally-specific information on management and marketing to help growers increase their bottom line with sorghum.”
Event registration is available at www.hpj.com/sorghumu or call 855-422-6652. There is no charge to attend the event and lunch is included. For a complete schedule, visitSorghumU.com.
This article was written by Logan Hawkes, and originally appeared on Southwestfarmpress.com
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Below is an excerpt from an article posted on QDMA.com
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"While this crop is planted during the warm months of spring and summer, it actually can provide a food source for deer during the fall and winter. The nice thing about sorghum is deer do not usually eat the plant while it is in the early development stage. The only time I’ve seen deer eat sorghum before it produced seed heads was when it was planted too early before much natural food was available in the woods. Another benefit of sorghum is that, in my opinion, it is much easier to successfully grow than corn and is more drought resistant. Anyone who has grown corn knows that it doesn’t tolerate drought, particularly during the late ear formation stage. Sorghum, on the other hand, has the ability to withstand dry periods much better but still manages to put out a seed head even under diverse conditions. Sorghum is also a highly attractive and digestible source of nutrition for deer that provides a source of carbohydrates during the winter months and can be a great alternative to planting corn in areas where natural, cool-season vegetation is scarce. Consumption of carbohydrates is even more important in the northern climates where temperatures can get extremely cold. In the Deep South, where late-summer can be a nutritional stress period for deer, deer often consume sorghum seed heads as soon as they are mature in August or September. This fills a nutritional need, but if you want sorghum to remain available until later in fall, adjust your planting date accordingly based on the maturation rate of the variety you are planting (it ranges from 60 to over 100 days) while allowing time for maturity before first frost.
Sorghum grows best on fertile, sandy- loam soils but can tolerate a wide range of soil types. My food plots consist of loamy Georgia red clay, and I’ve had no trouble getting sorghum to grow on it. Soil testing will help assure you have the right fertility and pH conditions prior to planting. Sorghum does best when the pH is between 6.0 and 6.8. If lime is necessary to raise the pH, it’s best to do it the fall before planting the crop. This allows more time for the lime to help neutralize the acidity of the soil."
Big thanks to the folks at QDMA for all the good work they do and for allowing us to share the informative article.
Major Crops Grown in the United States
In round numbers, U.S. farmers produce about $143 billion worth of crops and about $153 billion worth of livestock each year.
Corn: The United States is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world, producing 32 percent of the world's corn crop in the early 2010s. Corn is grown on over 400,000 U.S. farms. The U.S. exports about 20 percent of the U.S. farmer's corn production. Corn grown for grain accounts for almost one quarter of the harvested crop acres in this country. Corn grown for silage accounts for about two percent of the total harvested cropland or about 6 million acres. The amount of land dedicated to corn silage production varies based on growing conditions. In years that produce weather unfavorable to high corn grain yields, corn can be "salvaged" by harvesting the entire plant as silage. Additionally, corn farming has become exponentially more efficient. If U.S. farmers in 1931 wanted to equivalently yield the same amount of corn as farmers in 2008, the 1931 farmers would need an additional 490 million acres!
According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The National Corn Growers Association also reports that each American consumes 25 pounds of corn annually. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). Corn has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels. In addition many household products contain corn, including paints, candles, fireworks, drywall, sandpaper, dyes, crayons, shoe polish, antibiotics, and adhesives.
National Corn Grower's Association 2013 Report. N.p., 11 Feb. 2013. Web. <http://www.ncga.com/upload/files/documents/pdf/WOC%202013.pdf>.
U.S. USDA. Economic Research Service. Corn: Trade. N.p. Web. <http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/trade.aspx#.UWbCQ7UX-w5>.
Soybeans: Approximately 3.06 billion bushels of soybeans were harvested from 73.6 million acres of cropland in the U.S. in 2011. This acreage is roughly equivalent to that of corn grown for grain (84 million acres in 2011). Soybeans rank second, after corn, among the most-planted field crops in the U.S. Over 279,110 (2007 Census of Agriculture) farms in the U.S. produce soybeans making the U.S. the largest producer and exporter of soybeans. , accounting for over 50% of the world's soybean production and $3-4 billion in soybean and product exports in the late 2000s. Soybeans represent 50 percent of world oilseed production.
Soybeans are used to create a variety of products, the most basic of which are soybean oil, meal, and hulls. According to the United Soybean Board, soybean oil, used in both food manufacturing and frying and sautéing, is the number one edible oil in the U.S. Currently, soybean oil represents approximately 65 percent of all edible oil consumed in the United States, down from about 79 percent in 2000 due to controversy over trans-fat. Soybean oil also makes its way into products ranging from anti-corrosion agents to Soy Diesel fuel to waterproof cement. Over 30 million tons of soybean meal is consumed as livestock feed in a year. Even the hulls are used as a component of cattle feed rations.
U.S. USDA. ERS. Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Soybean Farms. N.p., Mar. 2002. Web. < http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/761260/sb974-4_1_.pdf>.
U.S. USDA. ERS. Soybeans and Oil Crops: Background. Web. Accessed 4 Apr. 2013. < http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/soybeans-oil-crops/background.aspx#.UV3SYZMX-5Q>.
U.S. USDA. ERS. Soybeans and Oil Crops: Trade. Web. Accessed 4 Apr. 2013. < http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/soybeans-oil-crops/trade.aspx#US>.
United Soybean Board. New QUALISOY Efforts Reach out to Educate Soybean Value Chain. March 2013. Web. < http://www.unitedsoybean.org/issue_entry/march/>.
Hay: Hay production in the United States exceeds 119 million tons per year. Alfalfa is the primary hay crop grown in this country. U.S. hay is produced mainly for domestic consumption although there is a growing export market. Hay can be packaged in bales or made into cubes or pellets. Hay crops also produce seeds that can be used for planting or as specialized grains.
Wheat: Over 160,810 (2007 Census of Agriculture) farms in the United States produce wheat and wheat production exceeds 2.27 billion bushels a year. The U.S. produces about 10% of the world's wheat and supplies about 25% of the world's wheat export market. About two-thirds of total U.S. wheat production comes from the Great Plains (from Texas to Montana).
Wheat is classified by time of year planted, hardness, and color (e.g. Hard Red Winter (HRW)). The characteristics of each class of wheat affect milling and baking when used in food products. Of the wheat consumed in the United States, over 70% is used for food products, about 22% is used for animal feed and residuals, and the remainder is used for seed.
Cotton: Fewer than 18,605 (2007 Census of Agriculture) farms in the United States produce cotton (2007 Census of Agriculture). Cotton is grown from coast-to-coast, but in only 17 southern states, concentrated in California, Texas, and the Southeast. According to the National Cotton Council of America, farms in those states produce over 30% of the world's cotton with annual exports of more than $7 billion. The nation's cotton farmers harvest about 15 million bales or 7.3 billion pounds of cotton each year.
Cotton is used in a number of consumer and industrial products and is also a feed and food ingredient. Most of the crop (75 percent) goes into apparel, 18 percent into home furnishings and 7 percent into industrial products each year. Cottonseed and cottonseed meal are used in feed for livestock, dairy cattle, and poultry. Cottonseed oil is also used for food products such as margarine and salad dressing.
"World of Cotton." National Cotton Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cotton.org/econ/world/>.
U.S. USDA. NASS. 2007 Census of Agriculture, Cotton Industry. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Fact_Sheets/Production/cotton.pdf>.
Grain sorghum: In the United States, 26,242 farms grow grain sorghum. Grain Sorghum is used primarily as an animal feed, but also is used in food products and as an industrial feedstock. Industrial products that utilize sorghum include wallboard and biodegradable packaging materials. Worldwide, over half of the sorghum grown is for human consumption.
Some farmers grow sorghum as a hedge against drought. This water-efficient crop is more drought tolerant and requires fewer inputs than corn. Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri produce most of the grain sorghum grown in this country. The U.S. exports almost half of the sorghum it produces and controls 70% to 80% of world sorghum exports.
As much as one-third of domestic sorghum production goes to produce biofuels like ethanol and its various co-products. With demand for renewable fuel sources increasing, demand for co-products like sorghum-DDG (dry distillers grain) will increase as well due to sorghum's favorable nutrition profile.
"Biofuels." Sorghum Checkoff. N.p., Apr. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2013. <http://sorghumcheckoff.com/sorghum-markets/biofuels/>.
U.S. USDA. ERS. Feed Grains: Yearbook Tables; Overview: Web. Accessed 10 Apr. 2013. < http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/feed-grains-database/feed-grains-yearbook-tables.aspx#26773>
Rice: Just over 6,084 (2007 Census of Agriculture)farms produce rice in the United States. Those farms are concentrated in four regions including the Arkansas Grand Prairie, the Mississippi Delta (parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana), the Gulf Coast (Texas and Southwest Louisiana), and the Sacramento Valley of California. There are three types of rice grain; long, medium, and short, and each growing region harvests the type of rice best suited for the land. U.S. rice production accounts for just under 2% of the world's total, but this country is the second leading rice exporter with 10% of the world market.
About 50 - 60% of the rice consumed in the U.S. is for direct food use; another 18% goes into processed foods, 10-12 percent goes into pet food, and most of the rest (about 10 percent) goes into beer production.
U.S. USDA. ERS. Rice: Trade. Web. Accessed 4 Apr. 2013.
This article originally appeared in the Ag 101 section on the U.S. EPA website. Click Here to view the original article.
Kevin Spurlin is the author of this article. It originally appeared on Virginia Cooperative Extension. Click Here to view Kevin's post.
High feed prices motivate dairymen to evaluate every aspect of their nutrition program including their home grown forages. Forages are typically the cornerstone of a dairy’s feeding system with corn silage as the standard by which most other forages are measured due to its consistency in combining high yield and high quality. Other common forages offer niches when compared to corn silage such as alfalfa’s superior protein content or agronomic advantages of winter small grains in cropping rotations. So where does brown midrib (BMR) brachytic forage sorghum fit in?
A warm season annual like corn, BMR brachytic forage sorghum grows in much the same seasonal window. It is more efficient than corn in water and nitrogen use, requiring less of both. Dr. Chris Teutsch of the Southern Piedmont AREC showed establishment cost for forage sorghum was almost $40/acre less for seed and $50/ acre less for fertilizer compared to corn. Additionally, it is more drought and heat tolerant than corn. Like traditional sorghums, these new varieties possess many of the same attributes including the possibility of nitrate and prussic acid poisoning, but these issues are manageable.
What makes these new BMR brachytic varieties unique? First, the BMR trait results in lower lignin content, which increases forage digestibility. Second, brachytic refers to the dwarfing trait resulting in less stalk and more leaf area. Combining greater leaf:stem ratio with less plant lignin, and adding the seedhead at harvest results in forage quality that compares quite well with corn. Dr. Teutsch observed DM digestibility of BMR forage sorghum at 74%. Data on nutritional quality is still limited, and may vary by variety.
Given BMR forage sorghum’s attractive quality traits, establishment costs, and its ability to handle hotter, drier and slightly more acidic growing conditions, these newer varieties offer two distinct opportunities for consideration in your forage program.
This article was written by Jason Banta: Assistant Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Texas A&M University
Brown mid-rib forages have been around for a long time; however, their use has greatly increased over the last 10 to 15 years due to increased breeding efforts and the greater number of varieties now available.
The brown mid-rib (BMR) trait refers to a visual characteristic seen in sorghums, sorghum x sudangrass, sudangrass, pearl millet and corn, with light to dark brown coloring.
Forages with the BMR trait are typically higher in digestibility and, thus, energy content, resulting in increased average daily gain (ADG) or milk production for livestock.
The ADG research
Although limited, results from grazing studies comparing the use of BMR forages to genetically similar non-BMR varieties are extremely encouraging.
Table 1 shows results of a grazing study conducted in 1999 and 2000 at the Texas A&M Bush Research Farm located near Amarillo, Texas.
Steers grazing the BMR sorghum x sudangrass hybrid gained 0.32 pounds per day more and also produced 37 pounds more weight gain per acre than those grazing a similar non-BMR variety.
Additional work at A&M with photoperiod-sensitive sorghum x sudangrass hybrids showed a 0.17-pound increase in ADG for steers grazing the BMR hybrid.
Research from the University of Nebraska with grain sorghum stubble has also been positive.
Steers grazing stubble with the BMR gene gained an extra 0.36 pounds per day, which resulted in 23 pounds more gain per acre over a 65-day grazing period.
Another benefit is the increased palatability observed for BMR forages. This increase results in greater utilization of plant stems and also less forage lying on the ground (litter) at the end of the grazing period.
These benefits have resulted in excellent performance of stocker steers at the Bush Research Farm. In replicated trials over a five-year period, ADG of stocker steers grazing BMR sorghum x sudangrass hybrids ranged from 2.44 to 3.04 pounds per day with an average of 2.73 pounds per day. Gain per acre in these studies averaged 364 pounds.
Which BMR should I plant?
Of the forage types with BMR traits, sudangrass, sorghum x sudangrass and pearl millet are most often used in grazing or haying operations. The decision of which of these to plant should be based on soil type, planned use and expected animal performance.
Pearl millet does not pose a risk for prussic acid and can handle more acidic soils than sudangrass and sorghum x sudangrass; however, it tends to be lower in energy content, which would result in lower animal performance.
When deciding between sudangrass and sorghum x sudangrass, make sure to consider seed cost per acre, grazing characteristics and yield potential.
Sudangrass may recover better after multiple grazing events than sorghum x sudangrass. However, if the potential for hay production is also desired, then the sorghum x sudangrass hybrids may provide a yield advantage.
Potential lodging problems and reductions in dry matter yield are concerns some have expressed with BMR forages. Many of the early BMR varieties had problems with lodging, but advances in plant breeding have eliminated almost all problems in grazing situations.
Dry matter yields can be lower for BMR varieties compared with genetically similar non-BMR varieties. However, when pounds of digestible energy per acre and the resulting gain per acre are considered, it is definitely worth giving up a little yield to increase gain or milk production per acre.
In addition to looking for a variety with the BMR trait, there are several other items that should be considered. Not all BMR varieties are created equal; some BMR varieties perform extremely well, while others may not show much improvement compared with non-BMR varieties.
This occurs because there is more than one gene that can produce the visual BMR trait as well as other genetic differences among varieties.
If possible, it is desirable to select a variety with some data behind it. However, rapid advances are being made in forage breeding programs, and as a result, tested varieties may not be available. If varieties with known performance in your region are not available, it would be wise to select more than one variety to plant on your operation.
Numerous varieties of BMR sorghum x sudangrass are available to choose from. In addition to the BMR trait, some are also photoperiod-sensitive. While these varieties excel in yield, ADG and gain per acre have actually been lower for these varieties.
Another trait found in some of the BMR sorghum x sudangrass hybrids is a brachytic dwarf trait characterized by shorter internodes, which results in a greater leaf-to-stem ratio.
Although published research is lacking on these varieties, increasing the leaf-to-stem ratio should result in improved animal performance, and the dwarf BMR varieties definitely deserve a try.
When it comes to sudangrass and pearl millet, the number of varieties available with the BMR trait is limited. To date, all commercially available varieties of BMR sudangrass come from the Cal/West Seeds program in California; these varieties have only been available since 2007.
Additionally, there appear to only be a few varieties of BMR pearl millet commercially available at this time. Two examples include BMR 209 hybrid pearl millet and PM 508/13 sold by Forage First Genetics and Desert Sun Marketing Company Inc., respectively.
Sorghum x sudangrass hybrids, sudangrass and pearl millet have the potential to produce a tremendous amount of growth resulting in high stocking rates.
Unfortunately, this growth is usually not distributed evenly over the grazing season, which can result in stocking rate challenges. Producers need to plan for this and have additional cattle available for put-and-take grazing or consider making hay with extra forage.
From a grazing management standpoint, some people find it beneficial to leave a few unplanted strips about 2 feet to 3 feet wide throughout the field. If electric fences are being utilized, it would also be beneficial to leave a few feet unplanted next to the fence.
Based on the available grazing data, silage studies and variety trials, BMR forages have definitely earned the right for consideration. So the next time you are looking to increase performance and reduce cost of gain, you might want to include a BMR forage in your operation.
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