AGRO3503, Unit II-4.  Grain Sorghum: Introduction.


Grain sorghum is an important crop for many row crop farmers in the U.S.   It makes an excellent rotational crop with other crops such as cotton, soybeans and rice.  Grain sorghum in a rotation can help reduce populations of several disease pests such as nematodes.  The primary utilization of grain sorghum is for animal feed, but other industrial utilizations have been developed such as a source for starch, dextrose, alcohol, wax and as a component of dry walls.  The large poultry industry consumes most of the grain sorghum produced.  Different types of grain sorghum are also used for human consumption in many parts of the world.  Several types of grain sorghum are drought hardy and provide an important food source in semi-arid regions of the world. 


Botanically, grain sorghum is a C4 warm season annual.  It has a panicle shaped inflorescence and oval shaped seeds.  Four classes of sorghum are recognized: grain, syrup, forage and broomcorn.  It is a ‘drought evader’ type cereal and can provide consistent yields in years with variable rainfall.  The main type of grain sorghum grown in the U.S. is milo, a large seeded type.  Most varieties grown are hybrid dwarfs.  Dark colored seeds are higher in tannin, making them somewhat undesirable for bird predation.  Tight, compact panicles also discourage bird predation because they don’t provide easy perching and access to seeds.  Prussic acid can accumulate in foliage of sorghum species that are recovering from drought or frost stress.  Prussic acid is toxic to grazing livestock but usually degrades after a few weeks. 


Print out Quiz II-4 and then study the links below to help find the information to help answer the questions.



Sorghum History


Grain Sorghum