Sorghum is one of the top 10 biggest crops by area in the United States, and it's also among the most valuable. The United States is the biggest producer and one of the biggest exporters of sorghum, along with Argentina and Australia. Nigeria and India are among the biggest sorghum producers, as well.
The plant grows in warm regions and is very important to a wide range of industries. With a resume like that, it's surprising that sorghum isn't more widely known about. Although many people have heard the word sorghum before, many don't know what it is.
Sorghum is a type of grass, and different varieties are used for different purposes. Some sorghum is grown in pastures for grazing, other types are used in the production of animal feed, and still others are grown for their grain. This versatility is what makes sorghum such an important crop around the world.
Sorghum as a Food Crop
As a food crop, sorghum has some properties that make it a good choice in some regions. First, the plants are quite hearty and resistant to drought and extreme heat.
When used as a grain, it can be made into flour, much like wheat. Many types of food can be made with this, including bread, couscous, tortillas, and porridge.
Sorghum beer, which is common in some African countries, has also been marketed in the United States as a low carbohydrate, gluten-free beverage. Additionally, some varieties of sorghum, called sweet sorghum, can be used to make a molasses-like syrup.
In addition to being used as a food, parts of the sorghum plant can be found in building materials, packing materials, and ethanol fuel. Still other varieties are used to make brooms and brushes. The fact that sorghum can have so many different uses should give you an idea of why it is one of the most important grain crops around the world.
People who don't live in areas where sorghum is commonly eaten may not be familiar with the grain, but chances are, they have had an interaction with sorghum in some form at some time in their lives.