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Packages and Practices Of SWEET SORGHUM

Sugarcrops October 21, 2015

Cultivation of SWEET SORGHUM: Complete guide on  SWEET SORGHUM farming involves in seed treatment, planting, pest management, irrigation, harvesting and benefits.

Scientific name of SWEET SORGHUM (Sorghum bicolor)

Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as durra, jowari, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food, both for animals and humans, and for ethanol production. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. Sorghum is the world’s fifth most important cereal crop after rice, wheat, maize and barley. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial. It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 m high. The grain is small, ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for foliage, syrup production, and ethanol; they are taller than those grown for grain.

Sorghum is cultivated in many parts of the world today. In the past 50 years, the area planted with sorghum worldwide had increased 66%. In many parts of Asia and Africa, its grain is used to make flat breads that form the staple food of many cultures. The grains can also be popped in a similar fashion to popcorn.

The species can be used as a source for making ethanol fuel, and in some environments may be better than maize or sugarcane, as it can grow under harsher conditions. It typically has protein levels of around 9%, enabling dependent human populations to subsist on it in times of famine, in contrast to regions where maize has become the staple crop. It is also used for making a traditional corn broom. Sweet sorghum syrup is known as molasses in some parts of the U.S., although it is not true molasses.




Step 1: Treat the seeds 24 hours prior to sowing with Captan or Thiram 2 gm/kg of seed or Metalaxyl 4 gm / kg of seed to control downy mildew.

Step 2: Treat the seeds required for one hectare with 3 packets (600gm) of Azospirillum using rice gruel as binder.

Note: Dissolve 0.5 gm of gum in 20 ml of water. Add 4 ml of Chlorpyriphos 20 EC or Monocrotophos 35 WSC or Phosalone 35 EC. To this add 1.0 kg of seed, pellet and shade dry to control shootfly and stemborer.


Form ridges and furrows at a spacing of 45 cm apart


  • Seed rate of 10 kg/ha
  • Adopt a spacing of 45 x 15 cm (population 1,48,000/ha)
  • Sow the seeds at a depth of 2 cm and cover with soil


sorghum seedling

sorghum seedling

Note: Use increased seed rate upto 12.5 kg per hectare and remove the shoot fly damaged seedlings at the time of thinning or raise nursery and transplant only healthy seedlings.


Application of inorganic nutrients alone in the long run will lead to soil and environmental pollution. Hence integration organic and inorganic fertilizer will sustain the soil heath and improve the cane yield of the sweet sorghum crop.


Application of balanced fertilizer at recommended dose in the right stage of the crop will not only improve the productivity but also improve the soil fertility and reduce the environmental pollution.


Soil testing is suggested tool for evaluating the fertilizer requirement. It has to be done before the cropping season well in advance so as to ascertain the native fertility of the soil and to recommend the correct dose of fertilizer which will reduce the fertilizer cost.


  • Apply 12.5 tons of FYM/ha at last ploughing.
  • Soil application of Azospirillum @ 10 packets (2.0 kg/ha) after mixing with 25 kg of FYM + 25 kg of soil may be carried out before sowing/planting.
  • 12.5 kg /ha of MN mixture mixed with enough sand to make a total quantity of 50 kg and applied over the furrows and on top 1/3 of the ridges.
  • Apply NPK fertilizers as per soil test recommendations. If soil test recommendation is not available adopt a blanket recommendation of 120 : 40: 40 kg of NPK/ha


  • Apply azospirillum and MN mixtures as basal
  • Apply half dose of N and full dose of P 2O 5 and K 2O basally before sowing.
  • Apply the balance N in two splits of 25% each on 15th and 30th day of sowing.

4. Weed Management:

  • Apply the pre-emergence herbicide Atrazine 50 WP – 500 gm /ha on 3 days after sowing followed by one hand weeding on 40-45 days after sowing may be given.
  • If herbicides are not used, hand weed twice on 15-20 and 30-40 days after sowing.

5.  Water Management:

  • Water requirement: 400-450 mm

6. Post harvest Management:


  • Consider the average duration (100-110 days) of the crop and observe the crop.  When the crop attains physiological maturity the hilum region of the seed will become dark in colour and indicate the ideal stage of harvest.
  • Cut the earheads and sundry the panicles to remove the excess moisture.
  • Cut the stem at ground level after the removal of leaves at the nodes.
  • Canes are made in to bundles of 10 to 15 canes each and transported to the mills for crushing.
  • The harvested cane should be covered with leaves (trashes) to avoid direct sun light.
  • The canes are to be transported to the mills within 48 hours of cutting.
Harvesting sweet sorghum for silage making

Harvesting sweet sorghum for silage making

Storage of seeds:

Dry the seeds below 10 per cent and mix 100 kg of grains with 1 kg of activated kaolin to reduce the rice weevil and rice moth incidence.


• Potential yield -80 to 100 t/ha (US reports)

• Longer maturity yield surpasses 100 t/ha

• Ethanol yield –2639 lit/ha (Brazil)–7000 lit (China)–3000 lit (South Africa)–4790 lit (US)

• National variety of India SSV 84 -40 –50 t/ha bio mass ; 40% of Juice yield and 4500 lit/ha of ethanol (NRCS report)



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