Sorghum is a grain that ranks as the world’s fifth most important cereal crop, primarily because of its natural tolerance against drought, as well as its versatility as a source of fuel, animal feed, and food. In parts of Asia and Africa, the cereal crop is used mainly as a source of food, while in the United States (US) it is used as a source of ethanol and animal feed. However, in recent years, the popularity of sorghum as food in the US has increased due to its gluten-free properties, which makes it suitable for people with disorders such as celiac disease. Sorghum is also known under various names in different regions of the world: kaoliang in China; jowar in India; mtama in East Africa; dura in Sudan; and kafir corn in South Africa. Some of the biggest sorghum producing states in the US include Kansas, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Kansas is the leading producer of sorghum in the US, producing 233.2 million bushels of sorghum grain in 2018. Kansas has been the biggest producer of sorghum in the United States for several years and accounted for almost 43% of the country’s production in 2013. Part of Kansas' high production levels is explained by the fact that sorghum can withstand the state's hot summers.
Texas ranked as the second biggest sorghum producing state in 2018, producing a total of 62.1 million bushels, which was a 34% drop compared to 2017. In 2018, Texas farmers planted sorghum in 336,000 acres of land, which represented a small increase from the 317,300 acres devoted to the crop in 2017. The Texas Coastal Bend region produces more sorghum than any part of the state and accounts for about one-sixth of all sorghum produced in Texas.
In 2018, Colorado produced 17.22 million bushels of sorghum, ranking as the third-largest producer of sorghum in the US. Colorado sorghum farmers cultivated 325,000 acres of land in 2018, compared to 360,000 acres in 2017, and were forecasted to produce 40 bushels per acre. In 2019, 335,000 acres of sorghum were planted, which is predicted to yield 16.75 million bushels. Additionally, the 2019 crops are expected to have an average production of 50 bushels per acre.
Sorghum Production In The United States
Sorghum is the third-largest cereal grain produced in the US, and the crop's popularity is due to its resistance to fungi and mycotoxins. Production of sorghum in the US peaked in 2015/2016, with a total yield of 15.16 million metric tons, and has gradually decreased, yielding 9.27 metric tons in 2018. There has also been significant fluctuation in the total land area under cultivation from one year to the next. Between 2000 and 2018, the acreage under sorghum ranged between 3.9 million and 8.6 million, with a figure of 5 million acres in 2018.