King’s and Southeast AgriSeeds Millet Lineup Blossoms with Two New BMR Dwarf Additions
King’s AgriSeeds and Southeast AgriSeeds’ foray into dwarf BMR hybrid pearl millets with the introduction of Exceed in 2015 was a rewarding one. We quickly noticed its yield rivaling older millet genetics of taller stature, excellent tillering and regrowth after cutting, and high leaf-to-stem ratio characteristic of many dwarf forages. In our 2016 trials, while Wonderleaf millet yielded 0.14 tons of dry matter per inch of growth, Exceed yielded 0.16 DM tons per inch of growth (first cutting). That greater plant density is an advantage for both yield protection and standability. The shorter stature, leaf density, and high tillering capacity gave Exceed exceptional recovery in a grazing context. This, coupled with its BMR background (the brown midrib is a visual marker of a gene mutation for lower plant lignin content), led to top-notch digestibility and quality analysis.
The greater proportion of leaves on these dwarf millets is also an advantage for more rapid drydown, as leaves dry faster than stems.
Armed with this knowledge of Exceed’s background and performance, we are thrilled to introduce two new dwarf BMR millets with Exceed genetics in their parentage:
Prime 180M –A compact and leafy digestible forage hybrid for grazing. Disease resistance is excellent, along with good staygreen.
Prime 360M – Very similar to Prime 180M. Also a very leafy, digestible hybrid that will be slightly taller at maturity. Disease resistance, regrowth, and tillering are all impressive.
We expect that both of these dwarf BMR millets will be a step up from Exceed, improving on these already high-end genetics.
When placing millets on the farm, remember that most are extremely useful in their range of adaptability – we would argue that range is even broader than sorghums or sorghum-sudans (the trade-off is a slightly reduced yield potential, however). Despite their tolerance of the hot, dry conditions of peak summer, millets can do well in wetter, more acidic soils than their sorghum counterparts can tolerate. They also don’t produce any Prussic acid with frost as crops in the sorghum family do. Millet is easily adapted for horses, as well.
With its short growth window, all millet varieties offer many options for double (or triple) cropping with winter and spring annuals and incorporation into summer annual cover crop and grazing mixes.
One important agronomic consideration is millet’s small seed size – smaller than sorghums. It must be planted shallow with good seed to soil contact, about 10-20 lbs per acre. Because of the shallow depth, the risk of dry soil conditions or drought impact on new seedlings is greater – the surface soil layer dries out first. As you plant, make sure seed is getting into the soil.
The reputable KingFisher brand, backed jointly by King’s and Southeast AgriSeeds and Byrons Seeds has picked up two new proven BMR products – a dry stalk sorghum-sudan and a late-season dwarf forage sorghum.
KF SugarPro 55SS Sorghum Sudan– A dry stalk BMR sorghum sudan with superior yield and regrowth. Will replace Sweet Six for 2018. Very
quick growing and high yielding, 1-4 cuttings may be possible. The dry stalk characteristic makes drydown more efficient, and the BMR background lowers lignin content and improves feeding quality.
KF FiberPro 70FS Forage Sorghum– A full season dwarf BMR forage sorghum. Lower lignin content with the BMR genetic background means greatly improved fiber digestibility. 110-115 days to soft dough. Will replace Silo Pro for 2018. Standability is excellent, as it will not get taller than 6-7 feet, and the short stature guarantees more leafiness for the amount of stem biomass. Inputs are 1/3 lower than corn. This hybrid needs to be planted in the late spring or early summer to reach full maturity (soft dough stage) in most regions. Be sure to wait until soils are at least 65 degrees F before planting.
KingFisher corn off to a great start
Working with Byrons Seeds, another livestock-focused seed company, we were pleased to roll out the KingFisher corn line this year – all non-GMO hybrids with excellent whole-plant digestibility, including kernels that rank high in starch digestibility. All of our corn hybrids have been selected with an emphasis on high energy and digestibility without sacrificing yield.
Many KingFisher hybrids got top-notch reviews in the 2016 research plots and many are still available for the 2017 growing season. The KingFisher corn program promised to deliver the same quality performance and value you are already used to from the KingFisher alfalfa program. Consider choosing a few of these hybrids in your relative maturity range and looking at them side-by-side with your usual brand. Contact us if you would like to see 2016 plot data comparing KingFisher corn hybrids to another popular livestock feeding brand.