Published on January 9, 2020
Michigan State University (MSU) Forage and Cover Crop Specialist, Kim Cassida, explores how dual-purpose use for Sorghum cover crops can benefit both soil health and livestock. Forage sorghum, sudangrass, and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids (sometimes abbreviated as sudex) are exceptionally heat and drought tolerant annual crops that are often used as cover crops. They also have a long history as livestock feed harvested as hay, haylage, or pasture. This makes them a prime candidate for dual purpose use as both cover crop and forage. Dual purpose cover crops can help crop growers recoup the cost of planting a cover, while providing much needed feed for livestock. Because roots are not harvested, many of the soil improvement benefits remain. Frost-killed pasture can be stockpiled for winter grazing similar to corn stover, while also continuing to provide ground cover and erosion protection.