Common sorghum

Common sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor ). It is a plant belonging to the grass family ( Poaceae ), whose seeds are used to make flour and as fodder. It is an important food crop in Africa , Central America , and South Asia and is the fifth cereal crop in the world, in terms of production (470,000 km² harvested in 1996 ). The largest producer is the United States .


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  • 1 Taxonomy
    • 1 Scientific name
      • 1.1 Authors
    • 2 Accepted names
    • 3 Basonym
      • 3.1 Basonym combinations
    • 4 Synonymy
    • 5 Common name
    • 6 Subspecies
  • 2 Origin and habitat
  • 3 Distribution
  • 4 Crop
  • 5 Characteristics of the variety
    • 1 Criteria for production
  • 6 Aspects to consider
  • 7 References
  • 8 Sources


Scientific name

  • Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench [1] [2] [3] [4]


  • Moench, Conrad
  • Published in: Methodus Plantas Horti Botanici et Agri Marburgensis: a staminum situ describendi 207. 1794. [5]

Accepted names

  • Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor
  • Sorghum Moench
  • Sorghum vulgare Pers. [6]


  • Holcus bicolor L.

Sorghum bicolor


Basonym combinations

  • Andropogon bicolor (L.) Roxb.
  • Andropogon sorghum var. bicolor (L.) Hack.
  • Andropogon sorghum var. bicolor (L.) Koern. & Wern.
  • Milium bicolor (L.) Cav.
  • Sorghum saccharatum var. bicolor (L.) Kerguélen
  • Sorghum vulgare var. bicolor (L.) Eaton & Wright
  • Sorghum vulgare var. bicolor (L.) Pers. [8]


  • Annex: Synonymy of Sorghum bicolor [9] [10] [11] [12]

Common name


Sorghum, common sorghum, or sorghum go by various names: large millet and Guinea corn in West Africa , kafir in southern Africa, hard in Sudan , mtama in East Africa , iowar in India, and kaoliang in China .


The many subspecies are divided into four groups:

  1. Grain sorghum
  2. Forage sorghums (for grazing and haymaking).
  3. Sweet sorghums (sorghum syrups).
  4. Broom sorghum (for making brooms and brushes).

Origin and habitat

It originates from East Africa and first diverged from wild varieties in Ethiopia 5,000 years ago. It adapts well to growth in hot arid or semi-arid areas.


It is distributed in tropical and subtropical regions, being an important food crop in Africa, Central America , and South Asia.


Sorghum field

It is grown in agro-ecological zones characterized by low rainfall and drought, which for the most part are unsuitable areas for the production of other cereals . About 75% of the grain crop serves as human food.

The intensive, commercialized production system for livestock feed uses abundant hybrid seeds , fertilizers and improved water-use technologies, and yields range from 3-5 t / ha. It predominates in the developed world and in some areas of Latin America and the Caribbean . Other less intensive systems, use their production for human consumption, introduce improved varieties, particularly in Asia ; Fertilizer use is scarce and the application of improved technologies is limited, therefore, the average yield ranges from 0.5-5 t / ha.

Characteristics of the variety

  • The height of the plant is 146 cm.
  • Flowering occurs between 70-75 days after planting and reaches a potential yield of 3-3.7 t / ha.
  • The grain has 87.78% DM; 8.37% fat; 2.99% ash; 11.29% protein; 0.14% Ca and 0.41% P.

Production criteria

The criteria that determine that the grain of this variety can undergo a pearling process and flour production are:

  • Non-intense coloration of the pericarp (yellowish cream; 0.023% tannin).
  • Average size (length, 4.11 + 0.03 mm; thickness, 2.38 + 0.02 mm and width, 3.90 + 0.03 mm).
  • 1000 grain weight (26.81 + 0.04 g).
  • Hardness (10.9 + 0.29 kg).
  • Endosperm with 75% wax and 25% mealy.

It responds favorably to dissimilar adverse climate and soil conditions and proves to be a national source of food not only for animals but also for human consumption.

Aspects to consider

The optimal sowing period is April – May and the seed consumption is 10 kg / ha. The seed is sown 70 cm apart between rows, it is watered at the bottom of the row with a trickle and it is covered with 2 or 3 cm of soil. If necessary, an irrigation will be applied to guarantee germination . Undesirable plants or weeds will be removed with a hilling or guataca cleaning in the first 20-25 days. The main damage to the crop is caused by birds , mainly from the formation of the grains to their maturity. The following measures can be taken to reduce damage:

  • Sow in areas where sorghum has often not been sown.
  • Try to plant large areas, if possible, away from groves, poles and electric wiring to avoid the presence of birds, mainly sparrows.
  • Protect with snuffcloth or other material from the formation of the grains to their maturity or hang some type of scarecrows in the planting area.

The definition of the harvest, approximately 90 days after planting, will be done by representative sampling, expecting a maximum of panicles with the recommended percentage of humidity. Grain storage is possible when the humidity does not exceed 12% and the mass is completely free of inert matter.


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