Summer Select Hybrid Pearl Millet Addresses Summer Annual Challenges


A new pest continues to spread in many areas of the United States. The sugarcane aphid, which attacks forage sorghum, grain sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass, causes yield loss, uneven or lack of head emergence, poor grain set, increased lodging and more.

Feeding sugarcane aphids remove nutrients used for plant health and grain yield. This, along with secondary diseases, causes sorghum leaves to die. Without proper hybrid selection and scouting practices, this pest can cause up to 100 percent yield loss. In addition, it leaves behind a shiny, sticky honeydew that creates a mess on hands and equipment.

Summer annual breeders are working to develop plants with resistance to this insect. While some grain hybrids now have sugarcane aphid tolerance, limited options exist for sorghum-type forage.

To address this, La Crosse Seed has partnered with top breeders to acquire what it believes to be the best products for forage and grain producers to combat sugarcane aphids and other challenges.

One such product is the Summer Select Hercules BMR BD Pearl Millet. Released in 2016, the response to this multi-cut summer annual “has been very positive,” per Chris McCracken, director of business development at La Crosse Seed.

After numerous trials and side-by-side comparisons with sorghum-sudangrass, Hercules BMR BD has not only demonstrated similar yields, but has also displayed sugarcane aphid resistance plus higher digestibility and energy, according to McCracken.

For producers looking to maximize productivity while also reducing cost, this improved summer annual has a lower seed cost than sorghum-sudangrass.

“Today, Hercules represents average seed cost savings of $12 per acre,” says McCracken. “It is a fantastic alternative for producers in need of economical, efficient forage.”

Additional advantages to the hybrid pearl millet include:

  • Faster emergence and regrowth.
  • Brachytic dwarf structure for improved standability and management.
  • Dry stalk technology for improved drying time.
  • Flexibility to handle a larger range of soil types than sorghum-sudangrass.
  • No prussic acid concerns.

The company also recently released four new grain sorghum hybrids under its Summer Select summer annual portfolio; two of which exhibit natural tolerance to sugarcane aphid.

More information on Summer Select products is at


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