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Ratoon Grain Sorghum and Other Seeds for Waterfowl in Sorghum Croplands

Author: Alicia J. Wiseman; Richard M. Kaminski; Samuel K. Riffell; Kenneth J. Reinecke; Erick J. Larson
Citation: Proc. Annu. Conf. S. E Assoc. Fish & Wildlife Agencies 64:106-111
Section: Wildlife
Page Numbers: 106-111
Year: 2010
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Abstract: Grain sorghum provides energy-rich seeds for waterfowl and may provide important alternative foraging habitat considering a noted decrease of waste agricultural seeds for wintering waterfowl in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. We conducted experiments in 22 sorghum fields in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana during falls 20062007 to evaluate abundance of ratoon grain (i.e., post-harvest, second crop), waste grain from the harvested first crop, and natural seeds. Nitrogen fertilized plots in 2007 produced >4 times more ratoon grain (x- = 219.57 39.65 [SE] kg (dry)/ha) than other treatments. Nitrogen fertilized plots in the southern sub-region of our study produced ~5 times more ratoon grain (x- = 262.93 50.28 kg/ha) than other plots. We recommend not manipulating sorghum stubble after harvest, applying nitrogen fertilizer under certain conditions, flooding fields after ratoon grain is produced, and integrating moist-soil wetland management into agricultural lands to increase abundance of foods for wintering waterfowl.

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