What is grain sorghum, features of its use and cultivation
Grain sorghum is one of the oldest cereals. Today it is one of the five most popular plants in the world, and more and more farmers are looking at it. The culture deserves special attention from land owners, especially those in the southern, arid regions.
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What is grain sorghum
Meanwhile, the cultivation of culture is becoming more widespread.
Cereals are varieties that are grown for the purpose of obtaining grain.
The ability to easily endure heat and dry weather is due to the originality of the plant's root system - it is very powerful and developed, it is capable of quickly absorbing a significant amount of water. Stem height - from 50 cm to 1.5 m.
At the stage of 5-6 leaves, new shoots appear at the sprout, and at 7-8, the growth of the stem is significantly accelerated up to the moment of formation and release of the panicle. The plant has a flowering time of 7-10 days.
The grain is round, sometimes slightly ovoid, glabrous or scarious, easily crumbling. The mass of a thousand seeds is from 20 to 30 g. In a panicle, from 1600 to 3500 seeds are formed. Food varieties are usually white-grain, with no tannin flavor.
It is possible to sow sorghum using the dotted method with row spacing of 60-70 cm, then the cost of seeds for sowing will be 10-14 kg per 1 hectare. When planting, you can also use the square-nesting method according to the 70x70cm scheme, when four to six seeds are placed in the nest; then the consumption is reduced to 6-10 kg per hectare.
Important!When calculating the required amount of sorghum seeds, you need to take into account their field germination. After all, laboratory germination is usually very high and can reach 95%, while the actual field germination is only 19%.
Cultivation technology requires thorough soil preparation before planting, including leveling the soil surface, removing weeds and ensuring optimal soil moisture. Sorghum is not demanding on the soil: light, heavy, and saline are suitable. In this case, the most suitable soil is considered to be moist, loose, sufficiently heated and aerated. In early spring, one or two plowing and harrowing is done before sowing.
In relation to feeding sorghum, it is very demanding. It responds best to the laying of fertilizers under the plow:
- nitrogen is necessary for the plant during the period of intensive growth and for the formation of deciduous mass;
- phosphorus - as a regulator of metabolic processes during the period of root formation, flowering and fruiting;
- potassium promotes sugar production.
The use of nitrogen fertilizers simultaneously with phosphorus fertilizers has a bad effect on the viability and germination of seeds. It is necessary to apply fertilizing separately, as well as deeper than the seeds. With this method of care, the yield can grow up to three times.
When preparing the soil for sowing, manure is also used. It is optimal to lay it in autumn or during pre-sowing preparation in spring, locally and deeply slightly away from the sowing site.
Important! Do not overestimate the rates of mineral fertilizers recommended by manufacturers, this may be the reason for the accumulation of toxic substances in the grain.
Before sowing, seed preparation begins several weeks before sowing. They are pickled in advance to protect the plant from infection with fungal and bacterial infections and to destroy pathogenic microflora, which has a very negative effect on plant growth. It is better to choose a combination preparation for etching, for example, "Fentiuram", which also helps against soil pests.
Today, preparations are popular that allow seed treatment in a semi-dry way. For this, 5-10 liters of water, 1.5-2 kg of a combined dressing agent, 150 g of soluble glass are taken for 1 ton of seeds.
Important! It has been scientifically proven that seed dressing before sowing increases germination by 46% to 67%.
Optimal sowing time
Sorghum sowing time begins when the average soil temperature per day at a depth of 10 cm reaches + 14 ... + 16 ° С. With this temperature regime, crops appear in about two weeks, when the temperature rises to + 25 ° C and above - earlier than a week.
Important! Planting sorghum in unheated soil is not allowed. In this case, the seeds will rot, will not germinate and will be overgrown with weeds.
Among spring crops, sorghum has the smallest seeds, which differ significantly in weight in different varieties. To find out the seeding weight, you need to take into account the plant density per hectare and the width between the rows, especially for bushy varieties. The sowing rate is on average 10-14 kg per 1 hectare, which is 160-170 thousand plants.
When calculating the rate, one should take into account not laboratory, but field germination, which is several times lower.
When sowing, the soil must be moist, the seeds must not be planted deeply. With deep sowing of small sorghum seeds, the germination period increases, the plants are weak and unstable to unfavorable weather conditions.
- 7 cm - optimal under favorable weather conditions;
- 10-12 cm - with too dry topsoil;
- 4 cm - on irrigated land or if the soil is very wet.
A high yield can be harvested with a fairly small width between the rows - 50-70 cm, since in such conditions the plant is better supplied with nutrition.
This stage consists of several sequential activities:
- Compaction of the soil with special ring rollers, as a result of which a mulching layer is formed.
- Harrowing is carried out five days after sowing to eliminate weeds.
- If after sowing the cold returned, and the crops did not come out more than 2-3 cm after 10 days, harrow again. In the first harrowing, weeds are destroyed by 60%, in the second - by 85%.
- If a crust has formed on the surface of the soil, it must be loosened so that it does not interfere with the emergence of seedlings. Harrowing is carried out before the shoots emerge; if germination has already occurred, the crust is removed with rotary hoes.
- In the future, the aisles are treated with cultivators. At the same time, there is loosening, preservation of soil moisture, soil aeration, destruction of pest larvae and simultaneous application of fertilizers.
Weed control, pest and disease control
The most dangerous weeds are bristles. During the germination period of sorghum, this plant is easily destroyed by harrowing. In the future, the weed becomes resistant to such treatment and immune to some herbicides. Chemical treatment with Agritox, 2.4D, 2M-4X will help to destroy it.
Sorghum is quite resistant to pests and diseases. Sometimes crops do suffer, and pests such as aphids, meadow moth, cotton moth, wireworm and false wireworm eat it. They cause significant damage to crops, devouring young foliage, stems and grain. To combat insects, they use insecticide treatment "Operkot", "Zenith", "Bi-58".
Important! Processing is carried out in strict accordance with the instructions in compliance with all safety standards.
In the event of a mass invasion of larvae, the crops are sprayed with biological products "Dendrobacillin" and "Lipidocide".
Despite its relative resistance, sorghum is occasionally affected by diseases such as leaf blight, rust, smut, stem rot, helminthosporium, Fusarium and Alternaria, which significantly reduce yields.
To prevent infection, it is necessary to eliminate plant debris in time, to decontaminate the soil, and to pickle the seeds before planting.
Harvesting of sorghum begins in September when it reaches full ripeness and the required moisture content, which should not be higher than 25-30%.
Harvesting is carried out by direct combining using a conventional grain harvester for harvesting small-seeded crops. At the same time, the turnover is reduced to 500-600 per minute so that the grain does not crush.
The threshed grain is immediately cleaned of plant residues, dried if necessary and placed in storage.
Attention! Sorghum harvesting should not be postponed until October in the hope that during this time it will have a lower moisture content. Liquid re-entry and deterioration of grain quality are possible.
Application of grain sorghum
Application area grain crops are now very extensive.
In animal husbandry
Sorghum is a part of food concentrates used in feeding pigs, cows, horses and poultry. Nutritional value of grain sorghum in the amount of protein surpasses corn and is equivalent to barley. At the same time, the yield of sorghum is higher than that of barley, so one hectare of sorghum can produce twice as much pork as from 1 hectare of barley.
Sorghum grains contain up to 15% protein, about 70% starch and 4% fat. Sorghum is successfully used for fattening pigs and livestock, its total percentage in feed should be up to 50%.
Sorghum grain contains four times more potassium, 1.5 times more calcium and 1.3 times more magnesium than corn. The listed trace elements contribute to the formation of shells and bones. As a result, when feeding sorghum, poultry productivity can increase up to 30%.
In fish farming
The use of sorghum in the amount of 20% of the total mass in the composition of feed for feeding pond fish can significantly increase the production and catch of live fish. The use of sorghum in the process of fish breeding increases the return on investment, while the nutritional value of sorghum feed is not inferior to cereal feed.
Reference. The introduction of sorghum into the carp diet reduces feed consumption by up to 50%.
In the alcohol industry
Sorghum contains up to 74% of the starch required for ethanol production. It has a significantly higher yield in comparison with other grain crops (sorghum - 60-100 c / ha, corn - 50-60 c / ha) used in the manufacture of alcohol.
Thus, there is a significant reduction in the cost of manufactured products.
Sorghum beer tastes almost the same as barley beer, while its cost is 85% cheaper. It has an original velvety taste and an unusual pleasant smell.
In the food industry
Sorghum grain has a high nutritional value, contains proteins, a lot of fiber, as well as iron, vitamin B6 and other useful substances.
The cereal sorghum created by modern breeders has great potential for use in human nutrition. This is a new grain that contains the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. It can be used to make cereals, soups, side dishes, puddings, etc.
Sorghum starch is increasingly used in the food industry, as it does not have the unpleasant taste that is characteristic of corn starch.
Sorghum hull pigments are used as colorants in the food industry.
The highest quality wax is produced from sorghum husks.
In constantly changing agro-climatic conditions, it can be difficult to get a full harvest from traditional grain crops. Under these conditions, it is important to grow plants that optimally use moisture, tolerate drought well, and do not require large fertilization costs. Sorghum is just such a crop.