Using Sorghum Sudan Grass and Mega Millet for Summer Grazing Sheep

Final Report for FNE03-458

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2003: $2,110.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $2,110.00
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Roger Coulter
Willowmoor Farm
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Project Information

Summary:

Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE03-458

The goal of this project was to test the feasibility of using Sorghum Sudangrass and Mega millet as summer grazing for Roger’s flock of sheep. One field was divided into three sections, with Mega millet being seeded into one section, conventional sorghum sudangrass seeded into one section and a Brown midrib (BMR) sorghum sudangrass seeded into the third section. On July 5th, when the sorghum sudangrass reached 18 inches in height, ewes were turned into the plots to graze. A second grazing sequence started August 20th. Before turning the ewes into the plots in August, Italian ryegrass and forage turnips were seeded into the sorghum sudangrass.

The Mega millet was a seeding failure, possibly due to cool, wet conditions. Both types of sorghum sudangrass germinated and grew well and were ready for grazing five weeks after planting. There was a strong preference by the sheep for the BMR sorghum sudangrass. The seeding of Italian ryegrass and forage turnips resulted in an excellent stand, so the ewes were grazed on it in the fall, with the hope of getting at least one grazing from it the following spring.

Roger feels that they were able to provide forage high in nutrition and very palatable to the ewes while giving their permanent grass/legume paddocks time to rest before being regrazed. Body condition score increased and milk production increased after grazing the sheep on the sorghum sudangrass, but butterfat percentages declined. Roger also felt that they may have an increase in lambing percentage the following spring due to the improved body condition after grazing the plots.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Tim Fritz
  • Aaron King
  • Bee Tolman
  • Craig Williams

Research

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.