Alta Seeds launches Empyr forage sorghum lineup

New forage sorghum hybrids pack elite traits for optimal beef and dairy production.

Alta Seeds has launched Empyr Premier Forages, a lineup of forage sorghum, sudangrass, and sorghum-sudan hybrids. These are Alta’s best-in-field sorghum forage hybrids, delivering top forage characteristics into one package.

EMPYR Premier Forages are carefully selected hybrids that outperform and outproduce in field and feed, according to Mark Kirk, Eastern/Western regional account manager for Alta Seeds.

“The one thing we hear over and over from livestock producers is that they need high-tonnage forages. But nutrition quality is equally important,” Kirk says. “With EMPYR premier Forages, producers get a complete forage product with the industry’s top characteristics.” 

EMPYR Premier Forages offer the latest genetic advancements built on a wide variety of hybrid types for specific grazing and silage needs. These include:

  • Aphix Elite Sugarcane Aphid (SCA) tolerance, to protect agains this destructive pest.
  • BMR-6 for increased palatability and digestibility, supporting more weight grain and milk production in livestock production. BMR-6 hybrids also yield forage equal to or greater in feed value than corn silage. 
  • Brachytic Dwarf for superior standability and high leaf-to-stalk ratios for high tonnage.
  • Dry Stalk, a reduced moisture level for earlier baling and storage.
  • Photoperiod Sensitivity for a wide harvest window.

Why sorghum forages work

In the southern Plains and Southwest, drought conditions have decimated crop production in 2020. Under water stress environments, corn silage does not perform well, says Jourdan Bell, research and Extension agronomist for Texas A&M AgriLife. 

“It’s believed that corn silage has higher yield potential, but new forage sorghum hybrids produce greater yields in stressed environments and comparable yields in non-stressed environments,” Bell says. 

Corn planted for silage is designed to be feed for beef and dairy cows. But failed corn – whether from drought stress or hail damage – is not an ideal feedstuff. Drought-damaged corn silage in particular has poor ear development, decreased tonnage, and increased shrinkage in the silage pit due to high dry matter content, Bell says. 

“We look at forage sorghum as being a drought-tolerant option in the Midwest, but also forage sorghums can fill demand for feed in these areas,” she adds. 

Bell points out that hybrid selection is important. Not all sorghum forage hybrids are equal. 

“The hybrid should match the production system and end-user goals. Later maturity hybrids have greater yield potential, but there is greater susceptibility to water stress,” she says. “Early to medium-maturity hybrids are typically better options for water limited environments.” 

EMPYR hybrids fit those parameters, Kirk says, with genetics that offer high yield, excellent standability, and strong performance during drought and excess moisture environments.

“In side-by-side comparisons, our EMPYR forage sorghum silage is equal to or better than corn silage, in many cases with fewer input costs,” Kirk says. “Livestock producers need all of the economic edge they can get, and EMPYR helps them accomplish their production goals.” 

EMPYR offers eight hybrids that fit a variety of environments, from silage production on the West Coast to haylage in the Upper Midwest, sugarcane aphid tolerance in the mid-South to grazing and dry hay production on the East Coast. While sorghum forages are known to be more drought-tolerant than other crops, EMPYR hybrids also offer excellent standability through all kinds of extreme environments. 

Experience EMPYR at Virtual Field Day

EMPYR forages will be revealed to farmers during Sorghum Frontiers, a virtual field day experience on Nov. 5. Visit to register online. An in-person tour of the EMPYTR forages can be seen in Larned, Kansas, and Enid, Oklahoma, by contacting your local dealer. 

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