Grain Sorghum

Sorghum is a very versatile crop; it can be grown as a grain, forage, or sweet crop. Sorghum is a high-energy, drought tolerant crop and is better adapted to be grown on marginal lands than other agronomic crops. Given its drought tolerance, sorghum is grown primarily as a dryland crop.

Worldwide, sorghum is ranked in the top 5 for cereal grains in production and acreage. The U.S. is the world’s largest grain sorghum producer and Kansas ranked as the top sorghum-producing state in 2018. The “Sorghum Belt” extends from South Dakota through Kansas and down to southern Texas.

In the U.S., grain sorghum is used mostly as livestock feed and to produce ethanol. It produces the same amount of ethanol per bushel as comparable feedstocks while using 1/3 less water. The use of sorghum as a bioenergy crop has increased dramatically in recent years with up to 1/3 of the U.S. sorghum crop going into ethanol production. The use of sorghum in U.S. food production is growing due to its status as a gluten-free product.

“Because of its versatility and adaptation, sorghum is one of the really indispensable crops required for the survival of humankind.” – Jack Harlan, 1971

View the grain sorghum crop performance tests

Kansas Grain Sorghum Planting Guide

Our rich soils and climatic conditions make Kansas the number one state in wheat and grain sorghum production. These conditions not only dictate the type of crop that will grow, but also cause wide differences in the optimum planting dates and seeding rates across the state. It is important that producers recognize optimum planting dates and rates for various crops, but just as important, producers need to recognize and understand the differences between growing conditions on their farms and those of their neighbors.

View the grain sorghum planting guide

KSRE Grain Sorghum Publications

Our extension officers across the state are dedicated to providing the best research and data to support grain sorghum production efforts throughout the Midwest.

View the KSRE grain sorghum publications

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