2. Double crop alternative. In western Virginia, cooler climates lend themselves to less stressful growing conditions for corn most years compared to hotter areas of the state. In the cooler regions the greater need may be the added option to increase total forage yield per acre using a double-cropping system. Corn can be used in rotation with harvestable winter small grain crops, but it can be a challenge to get corn planted on time. With its later planting date, BMR dwarf forage sorghum may be advantageous following a spring small grain silage harvest.
In conclusion, BMR dwarfing forage sorghum is relatively new to the scene. While there appears to be justification for its use in dairy forage systems, remember to consider it as part of an overall forage management strategy. I do not recommend a whole farm conversion to forage sorghum away from corn silage, but it may be another tool to consider. Diversity in your farm’s cropping and feeding plan reduces risks for crop failure and can help break disease and pest cycles. Consider all these factors, and seek trusted advice as you decide what forages to include in your cropping and dairy herd feeding plans.
—Kevin Spurlin, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Grayson County