You are on page 1of 7




Sorghum is truly a versatile crop that can be grown as a grain, forage or sweet crop. Sorghum is one of the top
ve cereal crops in the world. The United States is the world's largest producer of grain sorghum, having
produced 597 million bushels in 2015.

Sorghum is among the most e cient crops in conversion of solar energy and use of water and is known as a
high-energy, drought tolerant crop that is environmentally friendly. Due to sorghum's wide uses and
adaptation, sorghum is one of the really indispensable crops required for the survival of humankind (From
Jack Harlan, 1971).


Grain sorghum can take many shapes and sizes from a tight-headed, round panicle to an open, droopy panicle
that can be short or tall. There are various types of sorghum including red, orange, bronze, tan, white, and black
colored sorghum. Red, orange or bronze sorghum is traditionally grown and is used in all segments of the
sorghum industry.Tan, cream and white colored sorghum varieties are typically made into our for the food
industry, while black and burgundy varieties contain bene cial antioxidant properties and are utilized in other
food applications.


Depending on which species and variety is selected, sorghum can be used for grazing pasture, hay production,
silage and green-chop. Forage sorghumtypically grows 8-15 feet tall and ismost popular for use as silage for
feeding livestock.

Biomass sorghum has the largest stature of all the sorghum varieties, reaching a height of 20 feet in a normal
growing season. Biomass sorghum has been bred to produce a large amount of non-grain biomass. These hybrids
are used primarily for the production of bioenergy.


Sweet sorghum is predominantly grown for sorghum syrup. Unlike grain sorghum, sweet sorghum is harvested for
the stalks rather than the grain and is crushed like sugarcane or beets to produce a syrup.Sweet sorghum was
once the predominate table sweetener in the U.S. Today, sweet sorghum is used as a healthy alternative
sweetener to produce whiskey and rum type products and for biofuel and chemical production.


Sorghum is traditionally grown throughout the Sorghum Belt, which runs from South Dakota to Southern
Texas, primarily on dryland acres. Acreage increases are seen in non-traditional areas like the Delta and
Southeast regions. In 2015, sorghum was planted on 8.5 million acres and 597 million bushels were harvested,
the largest grain crop since 1997. The top ve sorghum-producing states in 2015 were:

1. Kansas 3.4 million acres

2. Texas 2.6 million acres
3. Arkansas 450,000 acres
4. Oklahoma 440,000 acres
5. Colorado 440,000 acres

View the 2015 crop summary (


In the United States, and other countries across the globe, sorghum grain is primarily used for livestock feed
and ethanol production, but is becoming popular in the consumer food industry and other emerging markets.

The livestock (market-opportunities/livestock-feed) industry is one of the longest-standing marketplaces for

sorghum in the U.S. In the livestock industry, sorghum is utilized in feed rations for poultry, beef, dairy and
swine. Stems and foliage are also used for green chop, hay, silage and pasture.

Traditionally, nearly one-third of the U.S. sorghum crop is used for renewable fuel production. In fact,
sorghum produces the same amount of ethanol per bushel as comparable feedstocks while using up to one-
third less water. Learn more about sorghum's role in ethanol (market-opportunities/renewables) here.

Sorghum exports (market-opportunities/international/export-sorghum) have represented a large portion of

the U.S. sorghum marketplace over the last few years. International (market-opportunities/international/)
sorghum customers have included Mexico, China, Japan and many other countries. Sorghum is typically used
for animal feed within these countries, but other opportunities in the consumer food industries as well as
ethanol production are arising. Learn more information about how sorghum ts into the international
marketplace here.
The consumer (market-opportunities/consumer-food) food industry is a growing marketplace for sorghum.
With so many healthy bene ts packed in every delicious grain, consumers are nding creative ways to use
sorghum in recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. Plus, sorghum grain can be cooked using a
stove top, slow cooker, oven or rice cooker to add a new twist to favorite recipes. As a result, sorghum now
can be found in more than 350 product lines in the U.S. alone. Learn more about how consumer demand for
sorghum is on the rise.

Sorghum is also used for new and expanding markets (market-opportunities/new-uses) such as building
material, fencing, oral arrangements, pet food (market-opportunities/pet-food), brooms and more.
Sorghum's versatility gives it the exibility to reach beyond traditional marketplaces, further enhancing
producer pro tability. Discover more about sorghum's innovation.


The origin and early domestication of sorghum took place in Northeastern Africa. The earliest known record of
sorghum comes from an archeological dig at Nabta Playa, near the Egyptian-Sudanese border, dated 8,000
B.C. Sorghum spread throughout Africa, and along the way, adapted to a wide range of environments from the
highlands of Ethiopia to the semi-arid Sahel.

The development and spread of ve di erent races of sorghum can, in many cases, be attributed to the
movement of various tribal groups in Africa. Sorghum then spread to India and China and eventually worked
its way into Australia. The rst known record of sorghum in the United States comes from Ben Franklin in 1757
who wrote about its application in producing brooms.

Other key years in sorghum history:

Thirty-one forage and grain sorghum introductions from Africa, India and China to the U.S.

Genetics (germplasm) for improved varieties, primarily from milos and ka rs, in the rst


Wheatland and other combine sorghums


First hybrid grain sorghum (DEKALB)


First silage/grazing sorghum


Downy mildew and anthracnose a ects U.S. sorghum with resistant hybrids to follow


Sorghum greenbug threatens future of sorghum


Greenbug resistant hybrids



) ) )

2016 United Sorghum Checko Program.

All Rights Reserved.


4201 N. Interstate 27
Lubbock, TX 79403
Phone: (806) 687-8727
Toll Free: (877) 643-USCP


Grain Production (farmer-resources/grain-production/)

Forage Production (farmer-resources/forage-production/)

Sorghum Yield Contest (farmer-resources/sorghum-yield-contest)

Leadership Sorghum (farmer-resources/about-leadership-sorghum)

Sorghum Economics (farmer-resources/sorghum-economics)


Renewables (market-opportunities/renewables)

Livestock Feed (market-opportunities/livestock-feed)

Pet Food (market-opportunities/pet-food)

Consumer Food (market-opportunities/consumer-food)

International (market-opportunities/international/)

New Uses (market-opportunities/new-uses)


Overview (about-us/overview)

Our Mission (about-us/our-mission)

Board of Directors (about-us/board-of-directors)

Sta (about-us/sta )
How the Checko Works (about-us/how-the-checko -works)

Branding Partnerships (about-us/branding-partnerships)