Sorghum, a drought-tolerant crop is an important food crop in many parts of Africa and Asia. In our previous post, we covered the economic importance of sorghum. In this post, we will take a look at the non-edible uses of Sorghum.
The non-edible uses of Sorghum are just as important as the edible uses because it usually reveals the parts of the crops that are otherwise not known and the research that is being carried out to unravel how else the crop can be useful to the ever ending needs of the human race.
From bio-industrial uses to building materials, here are some of the non-edible uses of sorghum:
Bio-ethanol is one of the bio-industrial uses of sorghum. Bio-ethanol is a petrol substitute for transport vehicles. There are different benefits of bio-ethanol including that it can be gotten from a renewable resource such as sorghum for example and it leads to greater fuel security, avoiding heavy reliance on oil producing nations.
Sorghum is a cereal grain rich in starch and its use in the production of bio-ethanol will be especially beneficial to countries with little rainfall and where maize does not grow well.
To put into perspective how much sorghum is grown and how much goes towards the production of ethanol, about 2.8 million tonnes of sorghum is grown in Nigeria and 11.6 million metric tonnes is grown in the USA and 1.2 – 2.3 million metric tonnes went into the production of ethanol.
One of the most important markets for sorghum production is livestock feed. Sorghum has been found to be a good and affordable replacement for important nutrients in different animal feed.
- Cattle Rearing: when properly processed, sorghum has comparable energy content when compared with other grains and is a reliable ingredient in feed rations
- Piggery: due to its amino acid, phosphorus, and fatty acid content, sorghum is an excellent source of nutrients for pigs and can completely replace other grains
- Dairy: cows are usually reared for meat and milk production and feeding them with sorghum is a cost-effective solution that has no negative impact on their milk yield
- Poultry: while unprocessed sorghum can be used in rations, processed sorghum increases nutrient value in feeds
Cover crops are important to improve soil quality by increasing water infiltration and reducing compaction. Cover crops are also planted to control erosion, suppress weed, and maintain soil organic matter.
Sorghum is an excellent cover crop that is sown during the fall in other to cover the soil before winter and protect it from wind erosion.
Agriculture scientists have also discovered that sorghum has the ability to absorb pollutants out of soil making toxic soil fit for planting. This is because sorghum strips excess nitrogen out of soils.
Sorghum stalk is used alongside other materials to produce building materials that are eco-friendly.
Sorghum, its grain, stalk, and stem are used in so many different ways around the world. In some areas of Africa and Asia, it is used for roof thatching, sleeping mats, baskets and strings in traditional musical instruments.
Broomcorn, a special type of Sorghum is not grown for food but specifically for its stiff, straw-like bristles and has been used for many years to make brooms and brushes.
Clearly, sorghum has other uses asides from being edible and may be a cost-effective solution in the areas of agriculture, and everyday living.