The recent crisis in world agriculture due to climate change has shown the limits of some crops such as corn and rice. They require artificial irrigation,
poorly tolerate drought and high temperatures. Sorghum, on the other hand, has overcome this difficult year with great tenacity.
In the United States, sorghum yields between 90 and 150 bushels per acre without irrigation. With irrigation, farmers harvest between 130 and 220 bushels
per acre. While these yield numbers are lower than corn, the input costs for seed and water provide a net financial benefit that is comparable in many cases.
Crops planted after sorghum in a cropping system show an average 8% increase in yield due to the water and soil benefits that sorghum provides.
For more resources and agronomic information, visit: www.nebraskasorghum.org
Here are some interesting characteristics:
-1 Strongly cutinized leaves, covered with bloom, with fewer and smaller stomata than those of corn;
– 2 Unit water consumption among the lowest (considered to be around 250);
– 3 Deep and expansive roots, capable of extracting water from the soil even when it is strongly retained;
– 4 Protoplasm capable of withstanding relatively high temperatures and rather severe dehydration without irreversible damage;
– 5 Ability to enter vegetative stasis by slowing down life processes in case of water “stress” in order to resume them with limited damage as soon as more favorable water conditions have been restored (in maize, on the other hand, water stress stops growth irreparably).
– 6 Sorghum uses approximately 1/3 of the water of comparable crops and regenerates organic material in the soil due to it’s large root biomass.
Sorghum ripening goes through these stages: milky ripening, waxy ripening, and physiological ripening. Almost never, given the time of harvest, is the grain dry enough not to require drying.
Unlike corn, it keeps its leaves and stalks completely green even when the grain is ripe.
Sorghum grain harvesting is done with the same wheat harvesters, adjusting the height so that only the panicles are harvested.
Grain yields are variable according to seasonal trends: under very favorable soil and summer rainfall conditions they can reach 8-9 t/ha of grain; average yields of 6 t/ha should be considered good.
Making a comparison with the maize crop, for which sorghum is supposed to be the substitute, in unfavorable environments and years sorghum considerably outperforms maize.
Link to agronomy resources: Sorghum In The Field | Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board (nebraskasorghum.org)