Brown midrib forage sorghum outperforms silage corn in moisture-deficit situations, and it’s less-expensive to grow. But the cost advantage for non-irrigated forage sorghum vs. corn isn’t as great as many people think, says Chris Teutsch, Virginia Tech forage specialist.
“I worked up a budget for a meeting I was speaking at, and it was about 15% lower,” Teutsch reports.
Forage sorghum seed is less expensive, and the crop needs less nitrogen.
“But all the harvest costs would be similar between that and corn, and there’s a lot of money wrapped up in harvest costs,” he points out.
While the seed-cost difference is significant – less than $20/acre for forage sorghum and almost $100/acre for corn – it shouldn’t be the factor that determines which crop to grow, says Teutsch.
“When you look at forage crops, everybody gets concerned about seed costs.” But paying more for good genetics is a wise investment, “whether it’s corn vs. sorghum or orchardgrass vs. tall fescue. Seed cost is pretty minimal in the big picture.”