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The benefits of sorghum in crop rotation?

February 12, 2019

Why grow sorghum in rotation?

With global warming and the need to preserve water resources, sorghum with low water requirements could become a new way of cultivating for the farmer with a new diversification of rotation, in main crop or for forage sorghum. than the grain. Sorghum is not afraid of diseases, needs only few inputs and is easily rotated, especially with spring crops. Cultivate differently.


What are the recommended rotations with sorghum?

Sorghum thrives when planted in a legume or rotational suite with a broadleaf or taproot crop. Plants of family family grasses can be planted in the fall after a sorghum in the same rotational system but with a number of precautions like good burial and varieties of sorghum with good resistance to Fusarium. Sorghum can be grown in the same place ideally once every two or three years.


Sorghum can be grown as a primary or secondary species:

Main crop

  • For places where water supply limits the growth of maize or without irrigation device (almost 85% of arable land in Europe).
  • Diversification of the rotation.
  • In the situation where the pressure of the Diabrotica is high, the sorghum is not used as a host plant but also the areas at risk of nematodes.
  • Creation of efficient local markets, particularly in animal feed.

Second crop

  • The goal is to sow no later than June to get enough biomass with the appropriate ripeness at harvest time, ideally in direct seeding to limit moisture loss in the soil and reduce weed growth.
  • Seedlings of early to very early varieties.
  • Potential for reduced yield when it comes to a second crop, but interesting because of its good resistance to drought and the low inputs needed which will increase its profitability.
  • A rotation that can be done after a barley, a pea or a rapeseed with a sufficiently early harvest.

Why not be used as a green manure?

In general, only the panicle of sorghum is harvested, the panicle is mature but the rest of the plant remains green because it is perennial. By leaving the crop in place after harvest in the winter, the benefits will be:

  • improved soil structure through sorghum roots;
  • limitation of erosion;
  • limitation of leaching of NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorus, Potassium).

As the plant is very sensitive to cold, it will be completely destroyed during the winter. In the spring it will be enough to make a simple passage of disc or a direct sowing for the following culture which can be in this case a Sunflower.

Sorghum will have a double interest!