Thursday, July 31, 2014

TDN? BMR? It's Alphabet Soup!

As a voracious reader and writer, I understand the ABCs - most of the time anyway. But when my farmer starts throwing around unfamiliar initials, I have to stop him and make sure he enunciates. Our alphabet-filled conversation centered around the 130 acres of a sorghum-sudan cross that he just finished planting.

But, before I get started on the whys, wherefores and alphabet soup related to sudan, I just have to point out that jet contrail in the sky. (Yes, I am easily distracted.) When I delivered Randy back to the field after lunch, it appeared to be falling from the sky. It was a different kind of sky writing, it seemed, saying, "Hey! Look at me!"
Back to the sudan:  Randy used the drill to plant the sudan, which we will use for cattle feed. It's a fast-growing hybrid that goes from seed to feed source in approximately 60 days. Sudan can be grazed or it can be put up for hay. We'll likely do some of both.
It's higher in TDN than alfalfa. TDN is total digestible nutrients. However, it is lower in protein. So it's a cheaper ration for maintaining weight in cows, but it's not desirable as a growing ration for feeder cattle.

Sudan also has a trait called BMR - brown midrib. After the sudan is grown and you cut the stalk in two, you can see a brown circle near the center. It makes the stalk more palatable and digestible for the cattle. (I will take Randy's word for it.)
The 0.40" of rain we got during our day of drizzle yesterday should help the sudan germinate and come up.

The sudan was planted on ground from which we'd harvested wheat. Next year, the same ground will be planted to corn in our crop rotation.

And there you have it - the next crop for which we'll slow down as we pass the field to see if the green is breaking through. It may not get the headlines devoted to wheat or corn, but it's an important cog in the wheel, too. Such is life on the farm.


  1. Oh I do hope it sprouts for you. "Such is life on the farm" indeed:) Hug B

    1. The soft sprinkles all day long yesterday should be just what the farmer "ordered." Thanks, B!

  2. I just love when things are high in TDN.


    I am definitely using that in a conversation today!

    Greetings from Minneapolis,


    1. Oh, I hope you'll let me know how THAT goes! Thanks for stopping by, Pearl!