Grain Sorghum Facts

 

Grain Sorghum, also called milo, is a member of the grass family. The round starchy seed’s tolerance for heat and drought plays a critical role in agriculture production throughout the state of Texas.

Not only is it an important grain crop, it is also very important as a forage, hay, and silage crop generating over $1 billion for Texas annually.


History


Growing Grain Sorghum in Texas

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  1. Grain Sorghum seeds are planted in rows during the spring, March to April, when soil temperatures exceed 65 degrees F.
  2. Growth is not very rapid until the plant is about 10 inches tall. This is because the plant is establishing a root system and taking up nutrients rapidly.
  3. Next, the plant begins to produce leaves and the stem begins to grow. The production of the head that holds the round seeds begins to develop at the top of the plant.Click to enlarge
  4. The new leaves are a brilliant green and the seeds darken to a color depending on variety, usually red in Texas. Other varieties may be white, yellow, or bronze.
  5. When the grain sorghum plant reaches maturity and is ready for harvest, it is approximately four feet high, the leaves have turned to a light brown, and the seeds have hardened.
  6. Farmers use combines to harvest their grain sorghum. The combine cuts the seed head off and threshes, or removes, the seed from the head.
  7. The grain is loaded on to trucks and stored at the farm in a grain bin to sell later or delivered to a local grain elevator where it is then sold to many different industries. Click to enlarge


  8. Grain that is stored in bins must be stored at specific temperatures and moisture content until it is used for seed, animal feed, or sold  to industries for food and non-food uses, or to export to another country.
  9. While most other grains are sold by the bushel, grain sorghum is commonly sold by the hundred weights (cwt – increments of 100 pounds).
  10. Grain Sorghum is well suited for Texas because it does not require much water and it grows well during the long, hot summers. Most grain sorghum is not irrigated.

 

Varieties

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Sorghum’s Food Characteristics

 Health FoodClick to enlarge

Attributes

Processing Possibilities

 


 Grain Sorghum Uses

 Livestock Feed

Industry

Fuel

Human Consumption

Worldwide, about 49% of the sorghum consumed is for food. Sorghum provides an important part of the diet for many people in the world in the form of unleavened breads, boiled porridge or gruel, malted beverages, and specialty foods such as popped grain and beer.   

 

Sources: Texas Farm Bureau via txfb.org

 

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