Grain Sorghum: A Versatile Option for Your Cropping Plan

Steve Sick

May 06, 2020

Whether because of lower-than-expected grain prices, higher-than-anticipated input costs or a later-than-optimal planting window, it’s always good for you to have options in case you need to switch up your crop plans last minute. 

Because of its versatility, grain sorghum is an excellent option for farmers seeking greater potential return on investment when acres, timing or economics don’t make sense for more traditional row crops.

Learn more about grain sorghum

Grain sorghum in an exceptionally well-adapted crop that allows you to take advantage of marginal and dryland acres. It generally features lower input costs than other row crops and is often favored when a late change in crop planning needs to be made.

The majority of sorghum grown in the U.S. can be found in the Sorghum Belt, an area spanning from South Dakota to Texas. In 2019, American farmers planted more than 5 million acres to sorghum. 

And while it is one of the top cereal crops in the world, sorghum also produces a comparable amount of ethanol when evaluated alongside other feedstocks—and it does so using significantly less water. In fact, approximately 40 percent of the sorghum produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production.

Thinking of planting grain sorghum this year?

How to select grain sorghum hybrids

To choose the right grain sorghum hybrids for your operation, you need to evaluate your input costs alongside a seed’s yield potential and relative maturity. Getting the highest possible yields for the best price available—creating the optimal return on investment—is always key, but it’s important to know how relative maturity plays into those yield goals. 

Grain sorghum hybrids are classified as early-to-medium and medium-to-late relative maturities. As with any crop, the fuller season hybrids have more time to develop, which translates into higher yield potential.

Another important consideration in grain sorghum seed selection is the potential threat of sugarcane aphids. Sugarcane aphids can be devastating to a sorghum crop, and the sprays to control them can be quite expensive. Also, with a severe infestation, it may require multiple costly sprays to achieve good control.

While sugarcane aphids haven't quite made their way to the majority of the northern parts of the Sorghum Belt, it is important to be prepared in case they do move to your area. 

Interested in planting grain sorghum this year?

At F2F Genetics Network™, we’re able to deliver a wide array of quality Warner Seeds grain sorghum hybrids—including an impressive selection of sugarcane aphid tolerant seeds. If you’re considering planting grain sorghum this year, we can help you determine which hybrids might work best on your operation. Learn more about our lineup and how we’re working together to put power back into the hands of farmers like you.


1. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

2. National Sorghum Producers

The sprout logo, "FBN" and "Farmers Business Network" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. “F2F Genetics Network” is a trademark of Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. F2F Genetics Network branded seed products and other seed products are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed. Terms & Conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice. See sales order form for additional terms and conditions. All sales are subject to entrance into a Master Distribution Agreement, where applicable, and the terms and conditions set forth therein.

Steve Sick

May 06, 2020