Grain Sorghum... Touching You Daily

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

  • Grain Sorghum is one of the oldest known grains originating in Africa and India.
  • Benjamin Franklin is credited with introducing the first crop to the United States in the 1700s.
  • Before the 1940s, most grain sorghums were 5 to 7 feet tall, which created harvesting problems.
  • Today, sorghums have two or three dwarfing genes in them and are 2 to 4 feet tall.

Varieties

  • Grain Sorghum is a drought-tolerant, versatile grain with many varieties.
  • Some varieties can be used in the cereal, snack food, baking and brewing industries.
  • These varieties contain a white berry, and tan glumes on a tan plant.
  • Other varieties are used in the US for livestock feed, pet food, industry and ethanol.
  • These may include yellow, red and bronze sorghums.

Sorghum’s Food Characteristics

Health Food

  • Gluten Free
  • Antioxidant Dense

Attributes

  • Absorbs & Enhances Flavors
  • Environmentally Friendly

Processing Possibilities

  • Baked Goods
  • Popped
  • Malting
  • Grits & Couscous
  • Chips

Grain Sorghum Uses

Livestock Feed

  • The seed can be ground or mixed into feed for dairy cattle.
  • The entire plant can be made into high-moisture grain silage when cut at 25-30% moisture.
  • After grain has been harvested, livestock can be pastured on sorghum stubble utilizing both roughage and dropped seed heads.
  • Pet food manufacturers include this highly digestible carbohydrate grain to their feed formulations.
  • Distillers grain, an ethanol by-product, is a valuable feed for both feedlot cattle and dairy cows.

Industry

  • Used as a substitute for wood to make wallboard for the housing industry.
  • Used in biodegradable packaging material that does not conduct static electricity. This is beneficial for the shipping of electronic equipment.

Fuel

  • About 15% of the U.S. grain sorghum crop currently is used for ethanol production with one bushel producing the same amount of ethanol as one bushel of corn.
  • Sorghum is the only crop that can effectively be utilized into starch, sugar, and cellulose ethanol production.

Human Consumption

  • Worldwide, sorghum is a food grain for humans.
  • Used in snack foods in the U.S. and Japan such as granola bars and cereals, baked products, dry snack cakes, and more.
  • Replaces wheat flour with a gluten-free flour for use in a variety of baked goods.

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.

Did You Know?

Grain Sorghum replaces wheat flour with a gluten-free flour for use in a variety of baked goods.

Learn more about Texas Sorghum!