Sorghum Fun Fact
Exports make up one-third of the U.S. grain sorghum market.
Approximately one-third of the U.S. sorghum crop is used for biofuels production. Naturally drought-tolerant, sorghum can be used for many different types of ethanol production including starch-based, sugar-based and cellulosic ethanol production. Sorghum and corn are interchangeable in the grain-based ethanol market. A bushel of grain sorghum produces as much ethanol as a bushel of corn. Sorghum DDGs, a co-product in the starch-to-ethanol production systems, tends to be lower in fat and higher in protein than corn DDGs.
- Grain sorghum is an excellent crop for sustainable ethanol production because it produces the same amount of ethanol per bushel as comparable feed grains while using up to one-third less water in the plant growth process. From an ethanol production standpoint, grain sorghum is equal to corn as an input. One bushel of grain sorghum or corn produces an equal amount of ethanol. With that in mind, ethanol producers can make grain sorghum part of successful feedstock procurement strategy–especially in areas where there is a ready supply of grain sorghum.
- Sweet sorghum, which is also drought-tolerant, grows very tall and the stalks contain a high volume of fermentable sugars. India and Asia are already using this crop to produce ethanol. Research is ongoing in the U.S. into infrastructure development needs to make sweet sorghum ethanol a mainstream reality. Sweet Sorghum: A Sweet Deal for Ethanol
- Forage and high tonnage biomass sorghums are being evaluated for their compositional makeup and production potential for use as a renewable feedstock for both the cellulosic and thermochemical process for conversion into biofuels. These annual feedstocks could become an important option for farmers looking to diversify their farming systems and to maintain rotation strategies on their farms.
Check out the Sorghum Connections Directory to connect with producers, manufacturers and users of sorghum.
Sorghum Renewables Summit
Find information on the first Sorghum Renewables Summit in Denver, Colo., April 2012, and download presentations from the conference.