Spotlight on sorghum

Sorghum is developing into an interesting alternative for grain and silage corn and could become even more important in the course of climate change.

Sorghum has been part of the KWS portfolio since 2007. In that time breeding was focused on the tall biomass type to feed the growing biogas market in Germany and other European countries. The breeding target was high dry matter yields, early maturity, cold tolerance and good standability.

The C4 crop with high drought tolerance is mostly known as grain cereal and is the fifth biggest cereal in the world. In 2013, this was one of the reasons why KWS started a new European breeding program for grain sorghum, with a focus on early maturity, drought tolerance and high yield stability. The main regions for the European breeding of sorghum are Southern Europe, Southeastern Europe, and Eastern Europe.

In Europe grain sorghum is used mainly for feeding animals. Elsewhere in the world, sorghum shows its versatility mainly in human nutrition (Africa and Asia), ethanol production (USA or South America) and many other sectors such as pet food, the brewing industry and colorants.

Sorghum also plays an important role in South America. Thus, KWS started a new breeding program at the Sorriso breeding station in the region of Mato Grosso in Brazil in 2020. The breeding focus here is on grain sorghum.

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Christina Schulze
Christina Schulze
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