Special Agronomy Project - Broomcorn Sorghum

The Nebraska Extension Special Agronomy Project gives 4-H members an opportunity to experience a crop that is grown, was grown or has the potential to be grown in Nebraska. Youth participate by receiving seed and resources to grow the crop, research traits of the crop and determine the viability of that crop in the part of the state they live. The project allows 4-H members interested in agronomy to grow something fun, new, and different.  

In the second year of the special agronomy project, youth will explore broomcorn sorghum. Broomcorn can be used for ornamental uses in floral arrangements or harvested for broom-use prior to seed maturity

2022 SPECIAL AGRONOMY PROJECT

Broomcorn is a type of sorghum that started as a garden crop, but soon evolved into being grown for making brooms for the home. The plant is a course grass that gowns 6-15 ft tall. The top of the plant produces long fibers called the brush. Towards the tip of the brush is where the seeds appear. The seeds when immature are pea-green in color and when ripe are tan, reddish tan, or brown.  

Educational Resources can be found from University of Kentucky Extension and Purdue Extension

PROCESS & GUIDELINES

Step 1: Enroll 

Enroll for the Special Agronomy Project through 4-H Online. There is a small enrollment fee of $0.50 for this project which covers the cost of seeds.

Step 2: Order Seeds

Contact your local Extension office and let them know how many seed packets you need. If you do not contact your local Extension office, seeds might not be available for you. The county office will order seeds as a county unit then distribute them to the enrolled members. Place your order as early as possible as counties must have their unit orders submitted by March 1st. 

Step 3: Pick Up Seeds

Seeds will be sent to the county Extension offices. Pick seeds up from your local Extension office when the county informs you that seeds are available (should be around April-May).

Step 4: Plant & Cultivate

Review regular project newsletters and resources as they become available. These materials will help guide you through the project experiences, solve problems, and prepare your projects for exhibition.

Step 5: Exhibit at County & State Fairs

Exhibits – Youth must be enrolled in the Special Agronomy Project through 4-H Online to exhibit in the State Fair Class G750011-G750013. 

  • G750011 - Special Agronomy Project - Educational Exhibit (SF259)- Educational exhibit based on what was learned from the project. Present information on a poster 14” X 22” either vertical or horizontal arrangement or in a clear plastic report cover. The 4-H member’s name, age, full address, and county must be on the back of the poster or report cover. Refer to Scoresheet SF259 Each display must have a one-page essay (minimum) explaining why the exhibitor chose the area of display and what they learned from their project. Include any references used.  

  • G750012 Special Agronomy Project -Video Presentation - 4-H exhibitor designs a multimedia presentation related to the crop. This could include narration of the growing process, presenting facts about the crop or any other innovative multimedia practices. The presentation should be at least 2 minutes in length and no more than 5 minutes in length, appropriate graphics, sound and either a video clip, animation or voice over and/or original video clip. Any of the following file formats will be accepted: mp4, .mov, .ppt, or .avi.   

  • G750013 Special Agronomy Project (Freshly Harvested Crop) Plant exhibits must be the result of the current year's project. Depending on the type of crop selected for the current year:   Sorghum - 4 stalks (cut at ground level with no roots or soil and bound together)  

  • Supporting documentation (½ to 1-page in length) should include the following:   

  • Economic Analysis and/or research that supports feasibility of this crop in Nebraska or how the crop has evolved over time.   

  • Other topics to discuss are past/current commercial production of this crop. This includes: the selection of variety or hybrid, impacts of tillage and conservation practices, inputs (fuel, fertilizer, irrigation, labor, pesticides, etc.), any observations made during the growing season about this crop and what you learned from your crops project. This ½ to 1-page summary counts as 50% of the total when judged.   

  • In addition to the summary, grain and plant exhibits will be judged on condition, appearance (i.e. disease and insect damage, grain fill), uniformity (size, shape, color, maturity), and quality of exhibit.  

Step 6: Complete Evaluation

Complete the evaluation no matter what happened. If every single plant lived, insects ate them off, or even if they all died, fill out the evaluation near the end of the growing season (around State Fair time).

Related Articles

Farm youth
USDA/Flickr (Public Domain)

Roth IRAs for Children Earning a Wage on the Farm

April 27, 2022
Though savings accounts for farm youth are common, Roth IRAs are another great avenue for investing the money they earn through labor on the family farm.

Read more

Children in tractor
For safety training, Nebraska teens will have two locations to choose from — North Platte and Grand Island — and six locations where they can take the final tractor driving test to receive certification. See testing sites and registration information below.

Tractor Safety Days Scheduled for Nebraska Teens this Summer

April 14, 2022
Two training locations and six testing locations will be available to Nebraska teens seeking tractor and equipment safety certification.

Read more

York youth team
The York County 4-H CSI team won first place in this year's Innovative Youth Corn Challenge for their project that compared the use of Xyway fungicide in-furrow to control diseases throughout the season versus no fungicide.

Innovative Youth Corn Challenge Contest 2021 Results

February 10, 2022
Find out which team won this year's Innovative Youth Corn Challenge and learn more about the research competitors conducted in their projects — plus, registration now open for the 2022 competition.

Read more

Youth Crop Scouting Competition group
Participants of the 2021 Youth Crop Scouting Competition, hosted by Nebraska Extension.

Youth Crop Scouting Competition Winners Announced

August 10, 2021
Participants were able to compete in-person at this year's Youth Crop Scouting Competition, which annually offers education and hands-on learning experiences on all aspects of crop scouting. 

Read more

Youth Crop Scouting Competition flyer

Youth Crop Scouting Competition — Connecting Youth with Crops

May 27, 2021
Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 8th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops can learn about crop growth and development and basic crop scouting principles.

Read more