Planting mixtures of corn and forage sorghum may reduce the risk of low silage yields in years with below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures.

That’s according to Chris Teutsch, Virginia Tech forage agronomist, who points out that corn has high silage yield potential but is sensitive to environmental stress. Forage sorghum has a much higher level of drought tolerance and water-use efficiency.

He planted the two crops alone and together with forage sorghum ranging from 2 to 8 lbs/acre. Planting took place in late May, about a month after the optimal corn planting date.

Adding as little as 4 lbs/acre of forage sorghum to late-planted corn more than doubled the silage yield in 2010 (4.9 to 11.5 tons/acre) and nearly tripled it in 2011 (5.4 to 14.3 tons/acre), Teutsch reports.

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