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November 3, 2014

Sorghum Silage offers Alternative to Corn in Southern Brazil

Corn and sorghum are the two forages most commonly utilized for silage production in southern Brazil and sorghum offers some advantages over corn for livestock producers.

The right time to plant sorghum for silage in southern Brazil is between September and November or as soon as the first summer rains arrive. October is the ideal month to plant and yields can start to decline if the sorghum is planted after November. Sorghum reaches harvest maturity in 90 to 100 days or when the crop is at 30% to 40% moisture. At that stage, the grain represents 30% to 40% of the dry matter which results in highly digestible silage with about 8% protein.

Silage made from sorghum is 5% to 15% cheaper than corn silage. The nutritional value of sorghum silage is about 10% lower than corn silage. One big advantage of sorghum is that it is much more drought tolerant than corn while still being highly productive (average production in southern Brazil is approximately 50 tons per hectare).