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BLACKJACK

Rotation with corn - sorghum?

14 posts in this topic

Looking for something for pheasants in my food plots, want to rotate it every other year with corn, was debating RR soybeans or grain sorghum - anybody plant grain sorghum in their food plots? What did you do for weed control? How about fertilizer, did you use any? Did you plant it with a drill or broadcast seed?

I've planted sorghum in the past, the pheasants have really liked it, but it got to be a weedy mess, and it does tend to pack down with a heavy snow.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Blackjack, when hunting in Sd we have some fields that are red Milo or millet not sure which one. The stuff grows about waist high, stalk seems to be tough. Pheasants absuletely love this stuff. We have also saw this planted with corn and sorghum. If it is alone it is drilled and with the others it has been planted in rows.

st

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I've planted a pheasant mix that had sunflowers, sorghum, buckwheat, peas and something else. Deer wiped it out before it could benefit the pheasants. Thinking of trying the sunflower and sorghum only this year. A much bigger area though.

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cherokee, I've planted sunflowers in the past and have not been impressed. They look nice while they're growing, that yellow head following the sun across the sky, but by Nov all the seeds had already dropped or had been eaten.

I know pheasants REALLY LIKE sorghum, when I've planted it in the past, any roosters shot in that area had their crops just packed with the seeds, was just hoping to find someone with some personal experience on growing it, fertilizer, weed control, etc so I'd get a big crop. Anyobody?

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Blackjack, after reading your post maybe I'll concentrate more on the sorghum as the sunflowers did not make it into Fall, especially winter when most needed.

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Coming from an agronomy background it wouldn't hurt to switch to differnt crops. It'll help with breaking up pan areas in the soil and also would increase yield with less input costs. Last disease...you go sorghum/corn there closely related and disease will stick in there and will affect your yield more. Wouldn't hurt to do a few rotations to prevent a few factors. Things to kind of think about before just planting. If you can plant a differnt crop one year sooner but you can get better yields it would be worth it. Hopefully I made some sense.

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The biggest thing that I'd forsee is the need to apply Nitrogen as both corn and sorghum use N. Even though a very valid point, I don't know if a maximum yield should be worried about in a pure food plot setting. Of course we like to have some food or "fruit" for the target species but we're (or at least I) am not looking at pumping out 180+bushel/acre corn out of a food plot. I would think that 100lbs of N/acre may be a min. of fertilizer that would be needed. I'm just getting into doing some sorghum plots myself so this may all change. It's just what I'm thinking now from the research that I've done.

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if you are interested you can take soil samples into your coop do core samples not just grabbing surface soil. They can send it to AgVise they have a website also. costs mabye 30-40 bucks depending on which coop does it. They give you a print out for a bunch of crops 3-4 and give suggested fertilizing recomendations. 100 lbs of actually N is what you put in a field. I'd just recomend getting your soil sampled and go from there. one way to keep non roundup fields clean is spray before you plant let it stand work up a few days later 4-5. Plant the field and before the crop pops up spray again. 32oz of RoundUp plus Surfactant @ 10-15 gpa. Should give you a great way to start with your field clean and try to get the plants to pop up and start above the weeds to get them to grow

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 Originally Posted By: WaveWacker
The biggest thing that I'd forsee is the need to apply Nitrogen as both corn and sorghum use N. Even though a very valid point, I don't know if a maximum yield should be worried about in a pure food plot setting. Of course we like to have some food or "fruit" for the target species but we're (or at least I) am not looking at pumping out 180+bushel/acre corn out of a food plot. I would think that 100lbs of N/acre may be a min. of fertilizer that would be needed. I'm just getting into doing some sorghum plots myself so this may all change. It's just what I'm thinking now from the research that I've done.

One of the things that I've found out about these food plots is that fertilizer is your friend, it may be expensive but it really makes a difference.

Last year I did get a soil sample tested thru Agvice out of Benson, money well spent considering how expensive fertilizer is. Once I got the sample back I called them and asked how much fertilizer I would need to grow 120 bushel an acre corn. Once I got the cost from the elevator for my 5 acre plot, I cut that back a little but it still cost $105 an acre, that was with them delivering a bulk spreader and me doing the spreading. The high cost was what had me thinking about sorhgum but my research has also found that sorhgum requires high N input in order to grow decently. I may try RR soybeans instead on my 5 acre spot, and then do a smaller spot of corn.

A side note is that the corn did really turn out nice, got it sprayed with Roundup at the right time and it actually looked like corn!! But even with 5 acres the deer have it cleaned out, but at one time I counted 26 deer and over 60 pheasants by it.

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 Originally Posted By: Code-Man
if you are interested you can take soil samples into your coop do core samples not just grabbing surface soil. They can send it to AgVise they have a website also. costs mabye 30-40 bucks depending on which coop does it. They give you a print out for a bunch of crops 3-4 and give suggested fertilizing recomendations. 100 lbs of actually N is what you put in a field. I'd just recomend getting your soil sampled and go from there. one way to keep non roundup fields clean is spray before you plant let it stand work up a few days later 4-5. Plant the field and before the crop pops up spray again. 32oz of RoundUp plus Surfactant @ 10-15 gpa. Should give you a great way to start with your field clean and try to get the plants to pop up and start above the weeds to get them to grow

One problem with the 'spray again after you plant' method is if you get rain. I had that happen on one of my CRP plantings, it was planted and then I got heavy rain, they weren't able to get in and spray before it started coming up and consequently I had a bad weed problem on that field. Why not spray before you plant?

At this point I don't own a sprayer, I don't like screwing around with the chemicals, but its getting harder and harder to get the coops to come in and spray the small spots, so I try to do as much weed control with tillage and mowing as I can, that works fine for clover but is not an option for corn, beans, sorhgum etc. Thats why I'm hesitant to plant the sorhgum, it will probably need to be hit with 2,4D but to get the coop to spray that will be tough. But weed control goes hand in hand with fertilizer if you want a decent crop. yes I know people say 'its just a food plot' but if you plant corn with out fertilizer or weed control you'll end up with corn thats 3 foot high with cobs that are 2 inches long.

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One could rotate fields of beans and corn and/or sorghum. A good crop of bean the previous year should supply around 40 lbs of N/acre to the following year's crop. This could help in supplementing/offsetting some of the costs of commercial N to grow the corn/sorghum. On the flip side there wouldn't be any commercial fertilizers required to grow the next years soybean crop.

Where to start if interested in doing this? Obviously soil samples would be the best thing to have done to figure out how much nutrients are already in the soil. However one can figure 1lb of commercial n per 1 bu. of corn. So if the desired crop is 120bu corn one would need 120lbs of N/acre. No fertilizer needed the following year with a soybean crop and then figuring the bean crop would give you 40 lbs of N for the next years corn crop.

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Thanks for the response WaveWacker! With the soybeans adding N it sounds like more reason to work on a corn/soybean rotation!

Do I need to do a soil sample if I'm planning on planting soybeans? For example, I've had the soil sample done prior to corn planting, put on the fertilizer at the rate recommended for 120 bu. per acre, do I need to do a soil sample the next spring prior to planting the soybeans?

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dairy farmers have a great rotation for whitetails.

oats for 1 year, alfalfa (clover) for 3 years, corn for a few years

its been my experience that areas with a high number of dairy farms produce heavy, heavy deer.

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That sounds great but then I have to have 5 five acre fields if I want to rotate AND have 1 five acre corn plot each year.

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