Culture of sorgo. Page: 3
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CULTURE OF SORGO
for Sirup Production
By I. E. STOKES, principal agronomist,
0. H. COLEMAN, agronomist, and JACK
L. DEAN, assistant pathologist, field
Crops Research Branch, Agricultural Research
The name "sorgo" is commonly used
to identify varieties of sorghum that
have an abundance of sweet juice.
These sweet-stemmed varieties are also
called "sweet sorghums" or "sugar
Sorgo is grown for sirup or forage,
whereas other sorghums, such as kafirs
and milos, are grown for grain. Still
other types of sorghum include broomcorn,
which is used in making brooms
and brushes, and Johnsongrass and
Sudangrass, which are cultivated for
Cultural methods are similar
whether sorgo is used for sirup or forage,
but handling methods differ.
The primary objective in growing
sorgo for sirup is to obtain the largest
possible yield of good-quality sirup.
Yield and quality of sirup are influenced
by varieties, diseases, insects,
cultural practices, harvesting, and
DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT
Sorgo is a member of the grass family.
It is more closely related to
kafir, milo, feterita, broomcorn, Johnsongrass,
and Sudangrass than to
sugarcane. It is perennial in the
Tropics but it winterkills in regions
where frosts occur.
Young sorgo plants are delicate, and
their growth is slow. In germinating,
the radicle (first root) bursts through
the seed coat. Shortly afterward the
plumule appears. It later develops
into the shoot that grows upward.
The first node or joint is always found
just beneath the soil surface, where it
puts forth permanent roots. When
the seed is planted deeply, the subcrown
internode may grow to 2 inches
or longer before the first node is apparent.
At this point the crown roots develop
and the tiller buds are formed.
The first main root is sometimes mistakenly
called a taproot.
After the seedling stage, the early
growth above the surface appears to
consist mainly of leaves. However,
the stalk is developing during this
period- at first mainly by the formation
of nodes very close together. A
leaf is produced at each node; the
bases or sheaths of the leaves closely
surround the stalk. The internodes
from this time grow more rapidly and
become much longer. The number
of internodes varies with the variety
and the individual stalk. Stalks of
most varieties taper from the base
toward the top but the last internode,
or the peduncle of the head, is uniform
in thickness. The exterior of the mature
internodes is usually covered with
a thin film of waxy bloom. This outer
region (or rind) of the internode is
hard and contains numerous fibers that
strengthen the stalk. The interior of
the stalks is composed mainly of soft
pith that contains sweet juice.
The feeding roots originate from
the lower nodes or joints of the stalks
at a point beneath or slightly above
the surface of the soil. They radiate
in all directions and are always most
abundant in the surface soil. The
plant obtains its moisture and mineral
nutrients largely from the upper foot
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Stokes, I. E.; Dean, Jack L. & Coleman, Otto H. Culture of sorgo., book, 1957; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6267/m1/3/: accessed February 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.