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K-State Research and Extension

Sorghum interests cooperate to promote growth

As a global leader in sorghum research and promotion, K-State co-founded a unique coalition with industry leaders and producers. In early 2016, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, Kansas Department of Agriculture and K-State formed the Collaborative Sorghum Investment Program.

The program focuses on expanding markets for sorghum and increasing the average national sorghum yield from 62 bushels per acre to 100 bushels per acre by 2025 by funding research in such areas as plant breeding, genetics and field-level management. 

In terms of national rankings, Kansas is the No. 1 producer of sorghum, but in terms of statewide acreage and return, it ranks behind wheat, corn and soybeans.

K-State coordinates these efforts through the Center for Sorghum Improvement, which aims to achieve major advances because farmers have not seen private technology investments in sorghum for the last couple decades. Those advances will come from work currently being done in labs at K-State and in test fields across Kansas. 

Along with seeking improvements on the front end of production, the center is also working on the back end: growing and opening markets for sorghum. 

This includes building the case for more sorghum use in livestock feed, entering the $24 billion pet food industry and creating products for people that capitalize on food-grade sorghum as a gluten-free, low-glycemic index product high in antioxidants.

Collaborative Sorghum Investment Program 2025 objectives:
  • Develop an annual 1.25 billion bushel annual consumptive sorghum demand.
  • Decrease value discount of sorghum relative to corn from today’s 4.6 percent discount to no greater than a 2 percent discount.
  • Increase national annual yield to 100 bushels per acre.
Sorghum