Sorghum Plant: Food, Silage, And More

Sorghum Plant: Food, Silage, And More:- It is possible that the sorghum plant is one of the most widespread and beneficial cereal crops, although the majority of gardeners have never really heard of it. Learn more about sorgSorghum Plant: Food, Silage, And Morehum with us!


Sorghum Plant: Food, Silage, And More

People who garden may not know about the sorghum plant, which is one of the most popular and useful cereal crops. This drought-resistant plant was first tamed in the Niger River Valley in West Africa. It later became an important food for people in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.


Sorghum comes from being an old grain and is now grown commercially for many things, such as animal feed, sorghum syrup (which is like molasses), weaving materials, flower arrangements, and even industrial processes like making ethanol.

Sorghum is popular in other countries and can be used for many things, but not many people grow it in their own fields. Thanks to the many types of sorghum that are available, many home growers can successfully grow it, especially if they have already grown other whole grains.


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Quick Care Guide

Chinese Experts Develop Fragrant Sorghum Using CRISPR - Seed World


Common Name(s) Sorghum, great millet, broom corn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, milo
Scientific Name Sorghum bicolor
Days to Harvest 90-120 days
Light Full sun
Water 3-4” water every 10 days
Soil Slightly acidic, well-draining. Tolerant of sandy soils
Fertilizer Heavy feeder, benefits from nitrogen
Pests Birds, rodents, aphids, caterpillars, sorghum midge
Diseases Sorghum leaf blight, bacterial leaf spot, head smut, downy mildew, Fusarium, Anthracnose, Sorghum ergot, maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV), Sugarcane mosaic virus (SMV)


All About Sorghum

Sorghum bicolor


Sorghum, like other grain crops, has big, green stalks that end in a seed head. The plant looks a lot like corn, but the sorghum seeds we eat don’t grow in ears like corn seeds do. Instead, they grow in a clump at the top of the plant.

When planted as a seed, sorghum grows quickly and makes green stalks that are tough and woody. When the stalk is 2 to 5 feet tall, depending on the type growing, it blooms with tight clusters of yellow, orange, or red flowers. These flowers are pollinated and turn into the sorghum seed that we eat.

Along with other grain crops like barley or wheat, sorghum makes tillers, which are stems that grow from nodes in the ground and make more grain. Tillering is mostly controlled by outside factors, such as the type of plant used, the growing area, and the way the plants are managed.

A sorghum crop can be used in many different ways in the kitchen. Sorghum flour is made from the seeds and is used to make flatbreads. You can cook sorghum seeds in a way that makes them taste like popcorn for a healthy and tasty snack. People in Tunisia make a food called droô with sorghum grains, milk, and sugar.

In some parts of Central America, sorghum is used to make tacos instead of corn. One type of sorghum that is grown mostly in the US for making syrup is the sweet form. The sugar that is made, which tastes like molasses, is called sweet sorghum. Sorghum grain is fermented in parts of southeast Asia and Africa to make beer and booze.

In addition to being used in food, sorghum is a crop that farmers often use as the main ingredient in animal feed. Hay or silage made from the grain is fed to animals. It has more protein and nutrients than many other foods.

The stalks that are left over after harvesting sorghum seeds can be turned into a pulp that is then used to make wallboard and other building materials. Broom sorghum, which is also called “broomcorn,” is a type of grain that is grown to make traditional brooms.

Making ethanol from sorghum is a fairly new use for it. People pick sweet sorghum to make syrup, which is then processed and turned into ethanol.


Planting Sorghum

Sorghum does best where summers are long and hot. When the weather is regularly warm is the best time to plant sorghum. Many gardeners wait until May or early June. The best way to grow it is to plant it right in the ground. Plant the seeds ¼” deep and 8″ to 12″ apart.

If you want to grow sorghum, you should put it somewhere warm and sunny, with dirt that drains well. Focus on getting rid of weeds as the seedlings come up. Weeds make it hard for young sorghum plants to grow.

Sorghum is usually grown in big fields, like other grains like corn, oats, and wheat. However, a gardener who doesn’t have a lot of room can grow sorghum in a pot. Unlike corn and many other grains, which are pollinated by wind, sorghum trees can make seeds on their own. All you need is one plant.



Volunteer sorghum


Sorghum grows quickly, and taking care of it is mostly about making sure it does well from the start. Once it’s established, it grows quickly and doesn’t need much care.


Sun and Temperature

Two of the most important things for raising sorghum are sun and heat. Try to find a spot that gets full sun, with 12 to 14 hours of sunlight during the summer. It is possible to grow sorghum in USDA zones 2–11, but it produces more grain when it is at least 80°F, and 90°F is even better.

Light frosts won’t kill sorghum, but the main stalk will die if it gets frozen. Soil that is at least 60°F is best for sorghum to grow. If the temperature of the dirt drops below 60°F, sorghum will have trouble consistently germinating.


Water and Humidity

Sorghum grows best in dirt that stays moist but isn’t soaked. Aim for three to four inches of water every ten days. If you water sorghum in the morning, it will be cooler during the day.

Sorghum can handle both too little and too much water, but it produces less grain when it is pushed to either end. The best way to water plants is at their bases, with a soaker hose or drip watering. This way, the leaves and seed head of the plant don’t get too wet.



Soil that is slightly acidic (5.5 to 6.5 pH) and drains well is best for sorghum. Sorghum can grow in pretty bad soil, but it needs a lot of nitrogen, so make sure to add dung and a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil.

Watch out for weed seeds in the ground and get rid of them properly, because sorghum doesn’t like to fight for nutrients, especially when it’s just starting to grow.



Because it is a grass, sorghum needs a lot of nitrogen to grow quickly. It works well with a fertilizer that has a lot of nitrogen, like blood meal or feather meal.

Even if you add a lot of waste on top of your sorghum, you should still fertilize it with a nitrogen-rich product every six weeks during the growing season. Potassium and phosphorus are not as important for sorghum growth, and any good soil should have all the nutrients it needs.



Other than the harvesting period, sorghum does not require any specific pruning or training.

After harvesting the grain sorghum produces, the plants will occasionally produce a second crop under the right conditions, but most gardeners prune the stalks back and use them in the compost bin.



Sorghum is propagated only by seed. Refer to the planting section above for information on planting! If left on the stalk, sorghum seeds will readily self-seed.


Harvesting and Storing

Harvesting sorghum is straightforward and simple but the techniques differ based on whether you’re growing sweet sorghum (aka cane sorghum), grain sorghum, or broom sorghum.



If you want to make sorghum syrup from sweet sorghum, cut the stalks off at the base about two weeks after they reach the “milk” stage. The milk stage is when the seeds, like corn and other grains, make a milky liquid when you press your fingernail into them. Next, take the stalks apart and press the canes. This will make a light green juice that can be turned into sorghum syrup by cooking it down.

For grain sorghum, the plant needs to be left alone until the seeds are fully grown. It’s time to collect the seeds when they are hard and shiny. Leave the seed heads on the top parts of the stalks and cut them off. Put them somewhere warm to dry for at least a week. Roll the seed heads over a piece of hardware cloth or a wide screen to get the seeds out.

The stalks and seed heads of broom sorghum can be dried and then cut up and used to make brooms, flower arrangements, and other projects.



Processed, dry grain sorghum can be eaten right away or kept in a cool, dark place in a jar or other tightly sealed container for a long time. If you store it this way, it can last for years.

If you decide to turn your harvest into flour, you should store it like any other flour: in a closed container away from direct heat or light.


Like honey, sorghum syrup can be kept in a closed jar in a cupboard. If you can keep the temperature stable, it will last for many months. If the syrup starts to solidify, put the jar in a pot of warm water and heat it slowly.



Sorghum is a very hardy crop that doesn’t have many problems as long as it is grown in good conditions. But there are a number of bugs and diseases that can hurt a sorghum crop.


Growing Problems

Sorghum usually has problems growing because it wasn’t planted in the right way. Crop yield will be smaller if there isn’t enough sun and it’s cold. Sorghum can survive in dry conditions, but too much or too little water will also stop it from growing.



Luckily, most sorghum pests are easy to control. Rodents and birds, two important pests, eat the delectable seed heads. These require timing and cover. If seed heads form, cover your crop with a floating row cover or bird netting. Time your harvest to avoid leaving dry seeds in the garden.

Sorghum midge, aphids, and caterpillars are harder to control. Aphids can be readily eliminated using hose sprays or trap crops like nasturtium or marigolds. Sorghum midge and caterpillars can swiftly harm crops and should be vigorously controlled. Neem oil treatments work for many gardeners,

but if you have a large infestation (particularly sorghum midge), use stronger insecticides. After treatment, apply neem oil or insecticidal spray every 3–5 days until the problem is resolved. Many caterpillar species can be controlled by Bacillus thuringiensis spray.



Fungal species cause sorghum leaf blight, bacterial leaf spot, head smut, downy mildew, and anthracnose. They mostly affect leaves and can stunt or kill. In this scenario, prevention is ideal. Selecting disease-resistant cultivars and planting in sunny, well-draining soil reduces fungus. Apply organic copper fungicide or neem oil if that fails.


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