Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are unrivaled for adding organic matter to worn-out soils. These tall, fast-growing, heat-loving summer annual grasses can smother weeds, suppress some nematode species and penetrate compacted subsoil if mowed once. Seed cost is modest. Followed by a legume cover crop, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are a top choice for renovating overfarmed or compacted fields.
The hybrids are crosses between forage-type sorghums and sundangrass. Compared with corn, they have less leaf area, more secondary roots and a waxier leaf surface, traits that help them withstand drought (361). Like corn, they require good fertility—and usually supplemental nitrogen—for best growth. Compared with sudangrass, these hybrids are taller, coarser and more productive.