NDSU will continue the project, ONC15-007, PI Kutka Evaluating Early Maturing, Cold-Tolerant White Sorghum
Cultivars, for which the NPSAS FBC was the original lead institution. The co-PIs on the project
will be Steve Zwinger, Carrington Research Extension Center and Dr. Burton Johnson, Plant
The objective of the project is to increase seed of white, open-pollinated sorghum cultivars for
the FBC which has the ownership rights to the seed increase. NDSU will increase up to 10
experimental cultivars of white sorghum lines at the CREC by Steve Zwinger. These lines will be grown to complete the work stated in the original
proposal that identified the need to “identify and provide farmers, processors and consumers with
seed for the most desirable sorghum accessions.” The seed will be grown and increased to
provide members of the FBC with seed.
Dr. Johnson will also conduct a replicated research trial at Prosper, ND.
The original project objectives:
Objective 1: Evaluate 106 sorghum lines with known cold-tolerance traits for adaptation and performance in
Objective 2: Identify sorghum accessions with marketable milling qualities paired with agronomic performance in
northern tier states.
Objective 3: Demonstrate the agronomic and market feasibility of white sorghum as an alternative crop option for
Objective 4: Disseminate variety trial data and project results to prospective growers and potential markets.
Objective 5: Obtain funding for two more years of replicated variety trials, identifying and providing farmers,
processors and consumers with seed for the most desirable sorghum accession.
The objective of the project Evaluating Early Maturing, Cold-Tolerant White Sorghum Cultivars (part 2) is to increase seed of white, open-pollinated sorghum cultivars for the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society (NPSAS) Farm Breeding Club (FBC) which has the ownership rights to the seed increase. The initial project ONC15-007 (2015-2016), PI Kutka Evaluating Early Maturing, Cold-Tolerant White Sorghum Cultivars established the seed for the increases conducted in 2017. The NPSAS FBC was the lead institution with the initial project where 106 cold-tolerant sorghum lines were first screened and increased in year 1 of the project. Data collected from the initial screen included: seedling emergence, early season vigor, days to anthesis and heading, height, lodging, maturity, 1000 kernel weight, test weight, and yield. An FBC participatory evaluation field day was held prior to harvest to facilitate joint evaluation by collaborating farmers, researchers, and processors.
In year 2 of the project at the FBC annual spring farmer-member meeting, the data was analyzed and voted on to identify the top 20 performing lines for evaluation in field trials in 2016. The project utilized the mother-daughter replicated variety trial concept for further evaluation of desired lines. Replicated mother trials were planted on 3 certified organic University research centers along with single observations (one replicate) on two certified organic farms, daughter trials. The CREC hosted an FBC participatory evaluation field day prior to harvest to facilitate further evaluation by collaborating farmers and researchers.
After the completing the second year of evaluation ten sorghum accessions were selected for increase to provide seed for FBC members to grow on field scale levels for further evaluation and production.
The NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center increased 10 sorghum accessions in 2017 on the certified organic plot ground at the center. The increases were planted June 6 on ground that was previously cropped to onions. Seed counts for the sorghum accessions ranged from 16,663 to 23,282 seeds per pound. The sorghum was sown at 110,000 PLS per acre. The rates varied from 4.8 to 7.3 pounds PLS per acre for the various accessions planted. The increase was sown in 30″ rows.
Soil conditions were very dry at planting with the seed sown in dry soil. It was over two weeks before a rain shower came to germinate the seed. The dry conditions that delayed germination also delayed early growth and development which had an impact on maturity. The growing season was slightly below, 5%, normal heat units (corn GDD) for the growing season. June and July were normal where August, a critical time for seed development in ND, was 20% below normal. The killing frost occurred on September 29, two weeks later than normal.Total corn GDD,June-September for this site was 1832.
Table 1. Accessions and rates sown in 2017 at the CREC.
|Accession #||lbs PLS/ac sown|
The seed increase was harvested on October 19. The seed was air dried to 13 % moisture for storage.
A replicated variety trial was planted at Prosper, ND to further evaluate the performance of the Accessions and compare to an early commercial hybrid check. The trial was planted on June 1 on conventional plot ground. No pesticides were used in the trial. N levels with the trial were at 130 lbs available N per acre. The trial was harvested October 20-24.
Yield results from the increase at the CREC are presented in table 2. Results are lower when comparing the same location and germplasm to the 2016 growing season. Average trial yields in 2016 were 50 bu/ac as compared to 36 bu/ac for 2017. Test weights and kernel weights were also lower for 2017. The lower yields and seed weight can be attributed to both lower heat units and rainfall experienced in 2017.
Table 2. Seed weights, test weights, and yield from 2017 CREC increase.
Yield data from Prosper is presented in table 3. Performance at Prosper was higher than the CREC with average yields over 95 bu/ac. All entries in the trial were early white sorghum accessions with the exception of 59CT4 which is a white commercially available hybrid sold. 59CT4 is one of the earliest hybrids available and being used as a check entry. Yield of this hybrid was 68.4 bu/ac, much lower than other entries in the trial. These results are consistent with previous evaluations indicating that the white open pollinated accessions trialed during the duration of this project are adapted and are a better option than currently available hybrids.
Table 3. Data from NDSU Prosper 2017 variety trial.
|Accession #||Days to||Days to||Height||Height||Plant||Grain|
|anthesis||PM||main head||tiller heads||lodge||yield|
Educational & Outreach Activities
A you tube video on the open pollinated sorghum project was done by SARE.
Farmers gained knowledge and understanding of sorghum production. Increased knowledge of varietal differences and maturity.
Farmer participation in variety evaluation/selection work.
Awareness of the value of farmer/researcher collaboration in variety development
A direct outcome of this project is the availability of sorghum varieties that will mature in a northern climate. This project will enable farmers to grow the crop in northern environments were no commercial seed choices were available to them. This seed is open pollinated and can be saved by farmers giving them access and control over the germplasm for their farm with this crop. Having adapted varieties of a new crop increases the crop diversity for the landscape or individual farms. Crop diversity is essential to improving soil health, managing pests and diseases, breaking weed cycles and managing risk. This project will provide farmers with a viable high value alternative grain crop and livestock feed potentially expanding their markets.
This project will give farmers access to adapted seed of a crop that was previously not available to them. The farmers that will benefit from availability were involved throughout the selection and development process.