We still have some late grain sorghum left to harvest and we’ve been talking about dessication. We discussed this with UGA Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Eric Prostko who has received more questions this year about the dessication of grain sorghum. Dr. Prostko says, “Growers need to know that the use of harvest-aids in grain sorghum has shown little effect in reducing grain moisture content.” A summary of 2 older papers is as follows:
1) Hurst, Harold. 1991. The Use of Dessicants For Field Drying Grain Sorghum With and Without Weeds. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin #974.
“Overall, these studies did not result in any distinct advantage for application of dessicants to reduce grain sorghum moisture.”
2) Olson, B.L.S, T. Baughman, and J.W. Sij. 2001. Grain Sorghum Dessication with Sodium Chlorate and Paraquat in the Texas Rolling Plains. Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources 14:80-83.
“Results from our 2-year study indicate that dessicant applications were generally ineffective (and most likely uneconomical) in reducing grain moisture in late-planted grain sorghum.”
“In my opinion, the major (only?) benefit of using a harvest-aid in grain sorghum would be to reduce the amount of green plant material that goes through the combine and might end up in the grain. I know of only 3 things that will dry down grain sorghum seed: time, a hard freeze, and/or a grain dryer.”
When we treat as a harvest aid, keep in mind that the grain needs to be past the milk stage of development. Dr. Prostko recommends treatment as close to harvest as possible to lessen the chance of morningglory regrowth.