Sorghum Production Technology

Climate and soil

Basically, sorghum is a tropical plant, but it has i adapted to climatic conditions in the temperate zone. It possesses a great deal of adaptability to various types of climate and soil conditions. It can withstand heat and drought better than maize, and so it is widely cultivated in the semiarid regions of the world. In the rainfed areas of Punjab, D.G. Khan, Mianwali, Jhelum, and Rawalpindi, it is cultivated for grain; while in the irrigated areas it is mainly planted for fodder. In Sindh, it is extensively grown in Dadu, Jacobabad, and Sukkur Districts. The major growing areas in NWFP are D.l. Khan and Mardan. Two areas of Balochistan, Sibi and Loralai, have considerable acreage under sorghum.

With the exception of saline and waterlogged soils, sorghum grows on all types of soils, but heavy, loamy soils are most suitable for it. It prefers a hot, dry climate for luxuriant growth and does not do well at higher altitudes and in areas with high summer rainfall.

Seedbed preparation and manuring

This crop requires a good seed- bed, which can be prepared with one ploughing with a mouldboard plough followed by two ploughings with a cultivator along with planking. To increase fodder yield, 2 1/2 bags of DAP with 1 1/4 bag of urea per hectare should be added at planting, and another 1 1/4 bag of urea at the first irrigation.

Seed rate and method of sowing

The optimum seed rates per hectare are 75-80 kg for fodder and 20-25 kg for grain. Fodder crops are usually sown by broadcasting, but sowing in 30 em apart lines by the para method gives a better return. It is recommended that seed crops be seeded in rows spaced 60 em apart.

Sowing time

In Punjab, sorghum is sown for fodder from March to August; for grain, planting in June-July is recommended. In Sindh, it is sown in June for both fodder and grain. It is generally sown during June and July in NWFP. Rainfed crops are planted at the onset of the monsoon. In Balochistan, it is planted during July and August in the plains areas.

Intercultural and weeding

Fodder crops do not require intercultural. If grain crops are planted in rows, they should be given one hoeing. Removal of weeds from grain crops improves the yield.


About three or four irrigation’s should be given to the March-June crop, and one to two irrigation’s to the monsoon crop depending upon the amount of rainfall.

Pests and diseases

Two pests, shootfly and borer, inflict serious dam- age to the crop. For effective control of these pests with both grain and fodder crops, apply 3% Furadon granules @ 25-30 kg/ha at sowing or with the first irrigation.
Red leaf spot is the most serious disease. The seed needs to be treated. With Vitavex or Benlate @ 2 g per kg of seed. The crop should be irrigated lightly, especially during the period when the disease develops.

Time of harvesting

The best time for harvesting fodder is at the 50% heading stage, as the fodder tastes good at this stage and is free of toxins.


Two important cultivars are ‘JS-263, and ‘Pak-SS-II’. ‘JS-263’ is tall and sweet-stemmed, whereas ‘Pak-SS-II’ is medium-tall and non-sweet. The promising new lines ‘Hegari’ and ‘JS-88’ are tall, sweet- stemmed, and high-yielding.

Sorghum practices in Sindh, Pakistan


Pakistan has a geographical area of 796,095 square kilometers. It lies between 23 and 27 degrees North Latitude and 61 and 76 degrees East Longitude in the northern hemisphere. Administratively the country is divided in to four provinces, Punjab, Sindh, Northwest Frontier Province and Balouchistan.

Sorghum is an important coarse grain summer crops, which can be grown successfully in dry, aired condition and on the marginal soils. Since the people like wheat more as a human food, so sorghum production has decline in the past 60 years when new barrages made winter irrigation of wheat more economic proposition. Since sorghum is also be used as feed and fodder source, its importance in poultry sector is expected to increase.

The Punjab and Sindh are the major sorghum producing Provinces of Pakistan contributing respectively 47% and 26% of the total acreage. About 60% of the total area under this crop is irrigated, while the rest is rain-feed. The area under sorghum has fluctuated due to declining trends of its use as food. This is due to the land under cultivation to sorghum begin shifted to cotton, summer and wheat in winter. There are no changes in the climatic patterns but perennial irrigation has changed the agriculture economy altogether

In Pakistan the area under sorghum and millet on the average is 1.5 million hectares and the yield is approximately 5.4 tonnes/hectare. The yield is more than wheat and rice, which stand at 3.0, 2.2 tonnes/hectare. These yields are much lower than those millet and sorghum. However the demand for millet and sorghum is much less and there is no direct competition as wheat essentially is winter crop and sorghum is a summer crop. Its direct competitor is cotton and sugar-cane. There also is no competition with rice as it is confined to water- logged areas, where sorghum can have very low yields. Sorghum is also classified among aggresses and is capable of rapid growth and high yields.


It need moderate rainfall and minimum twelve inches of rain from time of sowing to harvest. Average temperature will be 80-90 °F for grain production and maturity.


It can be grown in a variety of soils heavy and light alluviums, red, gray, yellow loams and also sandy soils.

Rainy season sorghum varieties

These varieties are:

  • CSH5.
  • SPV-51.

Post-rainy season sorghum varieties

These varieties are:

  • SPV-86.
  • M35-1.

Summer sorghum varieties:

These varieties are:

P-J, 4-K, 8-K, 16-K, 24-K, D-340, ADP-1, ADP-2, CO-1, CO-2, CO-3, CO-10, CO-11, Nandyal, Fulgar, While,
Fulgar, Yellow, Bilichigan, 20, 29/1, 263, 893, 8B, 5 Tall, Y-3 and G-3.

Winter sorghum varieties:

H-1, 1735-M, 47-3, N-1, N-2, N-3, N-4, N-6, N-6, Maldandi, 35-1, 47-3, Budhperio-53, Broach-8, N.D-15, P.J, 3-
R, 4-R, 7-R, Billijola (S2), Yenegar, S22, M.35-1, and M.47-3.

Fodder sorghum varieties in South Asia

South Asia has many varieties. A few are:

Imphi, Nandyal, Chesalio, 10-2 Nanyal, Talaviri, Chong, Chinnamangal, Vellaicholam, Kakki, Volgar, Irungu,
Sundhia, Nilwa and nandyal.

Cereal cum fodder varieties

The varieties suitable for cereal cum fodder are:

1-GFRI-S-427, 1-GFRI-S-452, 1-GFRI-S-700, J-S-6090 and J.S. 73153. Their yield potential of fodder is 400-
500 q/ha.

Forage varieties

The forage sorghum varieties are:

JS-731500, JL-44 and SSG-59-3 with yield potential of 500-600 q/ha.

Other less important sorghum varieties,

Some other varieties are:

Milo, Hegari, Feterita, Durras, Shallus, Kaoligas. Meloland, Caprock, Red-lane, Combined Kafir Goga, Chutiala, Bodh, Tundi, Rattore, Sarokartuho, Red-turi, Red-Janpur, Badgar.

Sorghum (sorghum Vulagare Pers)

It is staple food of the poor classes, Grain may be broken and cooked in the same way as rice. It can be ground And flour used for a variety of preparation, inferior only to wheat for bread making.

Sorghum varieties of Sindh

Some more acceptable and suitable varieties are:

Coga, Chutiola, Bodh, Tundi, Rattor and Sororkartunho, Red-turt, Red-Janpur and Badgar are grown in Sindh.

Recent varieties introduction in Pakistan

Recently meloland caprock, red-lane and combined kafir have been introduced in Pakistan. The disadvantages of these varieties are:

  • They need high doses of fertilizers, though yields is more than the old varieties.
  • They have poor grain color and quality and are more susceptible to pest attack.
  • They have relatively low stability under adverse conditions.
  • They have low fodder color and dry stalk output.

Planting season

March to July is the time of sowing for seed, the seed rate is 50 kg/ha and March to October is the season for fodder production.

Existing cultural practices in Sindh

The current rain yield of sorghum in Sindh is 2500 kgs/ha. This is due to poor cultural practices namely:

  • Inadequate fertilizer use.
  • Poor land preparation.
  • Thin plant population (Traditional broadcasting method, results in uneven seed distribution, low germination and patchy crop).
  • The attack of common insect and pests stem borer and shoot-fly.
  • Thinning of crops for fodder, which results in low stand and yield.


Sorghum requires lot of fertilizer and its fertilizer requirements are:

  • 125 kgs Super Phosphate/ha.
  • 125 kgs Sulphate or Muriate of Potash/ha.
  • 125 kgs Urea/ha. (Usually this is required at the time of planting).

The Nitrogen fertilizer should not allowed to contact the seed, otherwise poor germination will result. After each grazing the nitrogen fertilizer is needed.

Inter Cropping

The inter cropping patterns of Sindh are:

  • Sorghum-berseem clover-bajra-millet.
  • Maize-berseem clover-bajra-cowpea.
  • Sorghum-berseem clover-mize-cowea.
  • Bajra-turnip-oat-maize-cowpea.
  • Sorghum-igeon pea. The latter used as inter crop.


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