Sorghum : Sorghum bicolor L. Moench

Sorghum is a contender to maize in the provender industry, which dependant up on the grain price in the world market. The International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India has developed germ plasm which are highly suitable for both food and feed purposes. Poor demand arising from more popularity of other major cereals and high bird damage are the main reasons for less popularity of the crop when both quality and yield are superior in newly improved varieties.

Nutritive value %













Calary vlaue/100g


Recommended Varieties
Variety IS 2941
Year of release 1971

Field establishment
Climate and Soil requirements
Deep, loamy, fertile soils, rich in organic matter, are preferred for satisfactory growth. Well-drained soils with adequate moisture supply are required for uninterrupted growth of this crop. By establishing the crops with the on-set of the rainy season, the crops can be harvested before depletion of soil moisture. They can be planted in maha similarly, as with other major crops that need 3-3 months to mature and a longer rainy season for uninterrupted growth.

Land preparation
Deep ploughing up to 45 cm is favourable for sorghum that has deep growth. Ridges can be made at 60cm apart for sorghum planting. Seeds are planted on ridges to avoid water logging in heavy rainy periods. Sufficient drains are provided to drain off excess water during rainy periods.

For sorghum seeds are planted at 60cm x 30cm 2 plants per hill.

Planting material
Seed requirement for planting one hectare of sorghum is 8-10kg

Time of planting
In Maha these crops can be raised as rain fed as well with supplementary irrigation when there are drought periods. Maha crop can be established with Maha rains that occur in latter part of September or first week of October for successful growth. Yala crops should be established with Yala rains that fall in later part of April. By timely cultivation pest problems can be reduced.

Crop management

Weed control
Weeds could be controlled by manual methods such as weeding and application pre- and post emergent weed killers. Crops need to be maintained weed free at least until flowering stage.

Fertilizer application (kg/ha)



Conc. Super Phosphate

Muriate of Potash





During dry periods, irrigations are required every 4-7 days depending on the severity of the drought and type of soil.

Diseases and Insect pest control
Root and stalk rots and foliar diseases such as leaf blight and sheath blight are common in humid days & Sorghum is also highly susceptible to rots

Harvesting & post-harvest technology

Crops are harvested, shelled and cleaned manually when grain moisture is low and after physiological maturity is reached. Seed moisture is lowered by sun drying to a safer level before shelling the seeds.

Post harvest technologies & food technologies
As post harvest facilities are yet to develop, except seed that need special attention and storage conditions, commercial grain are disposed as quickly as possible to avoid wastage by pest and diseases. As a result a fair priced to most products. About 75% of maize and sorghum are used in feed production.