Sorghum is an important cereal in relatively drier tropical regions. It requires less water than maize. While usually grown for the grain, sorghum can also be used to make sorghum syrup. In some areas it is grown as a fodder crop. Recently it has also become more important as a biofuel. Globally it is now the 5th important cereal after maize, rice, wheat and barley, but in Africa it is the second most important cereal after maize.
Basic information and facts
Sorghum probably originates from Africa, south of the Sahara.
It is grown in dry warm climates. It is used for human consumption in semiarid tropical aresa in Africa and Asia. In Australia and the Americas it is more important as a fodder crop.
The grains are produced in large branched clusters.
It is a grass with a cane-line stem, which can be up to 6 meters tall.
Climate and weather:
Grows well in relatively dry tropical or warm climates.
The plants are self-pollinated or cross-pollinated by the wind.
Up to 6 meters tall, but this depends on the variety. Some very short varieties exist that are even less than 1 meter tall.
Sorghum requires less water than maize and is quite drought resistant.
Spacing (close range)
Spacing (wide range)
The crop is usually planted in rows. Distance between plants is about 15 centimeters, between rows about 1 meter.
Sorghum is grown from seeds.
Several insects attack sorghum including the American bollworm, aphids and borers. Also seed eating birds can cause damage to the crops.
Parasitic witchweed (Striga) can be a problem for sorghum production in some parts of Africa.
Grains are harvested when ripe by cutting the ears.
The grains are eaten as food. It is also used to make sorghum syrop or sorghum molasses and can be used to make alcoholic drinks. Other uses include use as a fodder crop or as a biofuel.
Proverbs and Quotes
- Who can help with a proverb about sorghum?
- Of course, we are happy to receive this aid, but at the same time, we are trading our dignity for 5 kilograms of sorghum, … The Fulani man has never counted on anybody for assistance, just Mother Nature. (Amadou Doutchi)
Did you know that?
- American pioneers used sweet sorghum as a substitute for sugar to make syrup.
- Sorghum has been grown in southern Africa for over 3000 years.
No recipe yet. Who can send me a sorghum recipe?