Planting Sorghum This Year? Find the Right Hybrids for Your Farm and Fields
When the time comes for you to plant your crop, you have options. There’s always those good old faithful commodity crops—corn and soybeans—with no shortage of seed brands, genetics and trait packages from which to choose.
But let’s say you’re looking for some new possibilities. Are weather conditions in your region or conditions in the market (or both) causing you to look for ways to diversify your operation a bit? One crop you might want to give a second glance at is sorghum.
Here’s some background on sorghum
Sorghum is one of the top cereal crops in the world. Much of the sorghum grown in the U.S. is found in a region spanning from South Dakota down to Texas that is commonly referred to as the Sorghum Belt.
American farmers planted 5.3 million acres to sorghum in 2019 and harvested an average of 75.9 bushels per acre, making the U.S. the world’s leading sorghum producer.1
Sorghum’s versatility is one of its greatest assets. It is an excellent dryland crop that does well on marginal acres. It is also lauded for being water and solar-energy efficient, and its high biomass content makes it an outstanding soil builder.
Sorghum generally carries lower input costs and is a great alternative option when weather events and other unforeseen delays necessitate change in your planting schedule.
What market opportunities does sorghum present?
Sorghum has a wide range of uses marketwise, matching its versatility. Here are some of the most common market opportunities present for sorghum:
Sorghum’s primary market is in the livestock feed industry. It can be a high yield-potential option for foraging, hay production, silage and green chop.
Sorghum can produce a comparable amount of ethanol to other feedstocks using one-third less water. Approximately 40 percent of domestic sorghum goes toward ethanol production.2
Like other cereal grains, sorghum can be cooked and eaten in many different forms. Sweet sorghum is used in the production of a molasses-like syrup that is sold as an alternative sweetener and is also an ingredient in a variety of beverages. Sorghum flour has also gained popularity as a gluten-free substitute for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
A significant portion of U.S. sorghum moves into the international market for use in livestock feed, ethanol and other food markets.
There’s no shortage of other market opportunities for sorghum, including pet food, brooms, building materials and more.
How do you select the right sorghum hybrids for your operation?
At F2F Genetics Network™, we’re able to bring quality Warner Seeds, Inc. sorghum hybrids into the hands of farmers like you.
If you’ve grown sorghum before or are exploring planting it this crop year, you’re probably aware of the diverse array of hybrids available. Here’s a quick overview of the sorghum products in the Warner Seeds lineup:
Grain sorghum heads out in a variety of colors and has many uses across the food industry. Lighter hybrids are often used to make gluten-free flours while dark varieties are known for their high levels of antioxidants and other food uses. The mid-color hybrids—reds, oranges, etc.—are often used in livestock feeds.
Our selection of grain sorghum hybrids from Warner Seeds is vast; learn more about one of our top-selling hybrids, 7706W:
Forage sorghum is most often used for silage applications, but it can be used as a supplemental forage crop when necessary. It grows quite tall—usually 8-12 feet—and creates a great deal of biomass.
Some forage sorghum hybrids have the Brown Mid-Rib (BMR) gene, which can mean higher fiber digestibility and better forage quality. Forage sorghum is generally a one-cut crop.
Watch this video to learn more about one of the BMR forage sorghum hybrids in our Warner Seeds lineup:
Sudangrass is a fine-stemmed forage product with fibrous roots that puts off tillers and can be harvested fairly soon after planting, sometimes within 45 days. Reaching a height of 4-6 feet, it grows back quickly after planting—meaning some farmers can get two or three cuttings in a growing season. It can be used for hay, silage or green-chop.
Take a closer look at Gro-n-Graze 8493, one of the sudangrass options from Warner Seeds:
Planning on planting sorghum acres this year?
If you’re exploring planting sorghum this spring, we can help you determine which hybrids might work best for your operation. Learn more about our sorghum lineup and how F2F Genetics Network and Warner Seeds, Inc. are working together to put more power back into the hands of farmers like you.