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Sorghums, Forage


Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench

Gramineae, Poaceae

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Forage sorghums are similar to the grain sorghums but differ from the latter in having sweet or slightly sweet and juicy stems and are more leafy. The leaves are broad and coarse. The stems vary from 2 up to 15 feet in height depending on variety and growing conditions. They are mainly summer annuals, usually seeded in rows like corn. They have been grown since prehistoric times in Asia and Africa and a great many varieties have been obtained through natural selection. Forage sorghums were introduced into the United States about 1850, and numerous varieties have developed here. They tolerate heat and limited moisture and are valuable for hay or silage, especially in the Central and Southern Plains. Many of the forage sorghums are dangerous to livestock while green because of the prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid) content. This disappears as the fodder is cured. See also: Sorgo, or Sweet Sorghum