Sorghum is a grain crop, similar to corn, and it’s used primarily as an animal feed. Recently, because of trends toward gluten-free foods, sorghum has become a food source in the United States.
Sorghum is grown on every habitable continent, but its origins are in Africa. Sorghum has good drought-tolerant characteristics, making it a good alternative to corn in some cases. The crop is able to withstand drought for longer periods because it self-pollinates over the course of weeks, not days, as in the case of corn. The longer period gives the crop the chance, hopefully, to catch a timely rain.
The crop is of particular importance to African farmers, who endure drought conditions on a regular basis, and for farmers in the Texas and Oklahoma regions of the United States, where the climate is drier than areas to the east and north.
In the United States and South America, farmers feed sorghum grain to animals because it a good source of protein and fat. In other parts of the world, sorghum is mainly a food crop.
Though sorghum acres are much smaller than corn, soybeans, wheat and other row crops, Monsanto has a strong breeding program in its DEKALB® brand to fit growers’ needs. Through conventional breeding, Monsanto is able to improve the following in sorghum: