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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #293868

Research Project: Improved Forage and Alternative Use Grasses for the Southern U.S.

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Title: Evaluation of a Non-Flowering Perennial Sorghum spp. Hybrid

item JESSUP, R - Texas A&M University
item Burson, Byron
item FOSTER, J - Texas A&M University
item HEITHOLT, J - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Perennial Sorghum spp. hybrids (PSSHs) such as Columbusgrass (Sorghum almum Parodi; S. bicolor [L.] Moench x S. halepense [L.] Pers.) and the reciprocal hybridization (S. halepense x S. bicolor; e.g. Cv 'Krish') are high-biomass feedstocks currently utilized as forage but with potential as dual-use forage:biofuel crops. Acceptance of such hybrids is limited, however, by both their short-term persistence and tendency to produce significant quantities of seed which can become weed banks in subsequent crops. Natural PSSHs occur throughout annual sorghum production zones but have not been well characterized. Non-flowering PSSHs would not be a weed invasiveness risk via either seed or natural hybridization with annual S. bicolor. The significantly reduced rhizome production in PSSHs in comparison to S. halepense also minimizes vegetative invasiveness risk. The objective of this study was to evaluate biomass potential of a novel, high-biomass, non-flowering PSSH (SOAL09TX15) at multiple locations spanning forage sorghum production zones across Texas. Replicated, small-plot yield trials were initiated at Beeville, College Station, and Commerce in 2011 following a two-harvest per year, 'Haygrazer' type forage sorghum cropping system. SOAL09TX15 yields averaged 8 and 10 dry tons per acre across all locations in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and were not statistically different from the check (SX-17). Crop eradication trials were initiated in the 2012 growing season, in which clipping (7, 14, 28 day frequency) was ineffective but glyphosate application (14 & 28 day frequency) successfully prevented SOAL09TX15 from overwintering. Because SOAL09TX15 is non-flowering and therefore vegetatively propagated, rhizome propagule harvest, longevity, and planting experiments are currently ongoing. The utility of such non-flowering PSSHs as dual-use forage:biofuel feedstocks, and their value towards developing environmentally-benign, perennial sorghum feedstocks, will be discussed.