Grain sorghum was the sixth most valuable field crop grown in Missouri during 2009 following soybeans, corn, wheat, rice, and cotton. The value of this crop was about $30 million, but the value would have been greater if not for reduced yields caused by seedling diseases. Grain sorghum seedling diseases can be caused by several microorganisms that normally live in the soil on organic matter but can attack grain sorghum seedling roots especially when the soil is cold and wet and the soil pH is low. Seedling diseases cause dark red to black rotten areas to develop on grain sorghum roots. The leaves of diseased seedlings may wither or appear pale-green, and diseased plants will be smaller than healthy plants. Most sick plants die, and this causes thin stands, skips in rows, and occasionally entire fields or parts of fields must be replanted. Some sick plants may survive, and these are often weak and yield less than healthy plants. Farmers can help protect grain sorghum seedlings from seedling diseases by following a few simple guidelines.
Following these suggested procedures will give Missouri grain sorghum farmers a better chance of producing high yield and profit during 2011. More information is available at your University of Missouri Extension county office and is posted on the University of Missouri Delta Center web page (www.aes.missouri.edu/delta).
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REVISED: December 1, 2011