Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.03.2001

Scientists sing praises of sorghum: 'global grain of the future'

Sorghum, with its capacity to yield well under low water conditions, was proclaimed a 'global grain of the future' during the Australian Sorghum Conference held in Beaudesert, Queensland, recently.

Sorghum experts from around the world joined their Australian counterparts to sing the praises of this summer crop and share the latest research information on sorghum growing, breeding, marketing, and pest and disease control.

Markets and commercial possibilities for sorghum attracted added attention at the conference due to increasing interest in summer cropping across Australia.

Sorghum's water-use efficiency and its potential to help meet the world's rapidly increasing demand for feed grain were key topics discussed at Beaudesert, according to Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) sorghum physiologist Andrew Borrell.

'Around the world, the higher value of water for urban and industrial uses is threatening agriculture with shortages of irrigation water, and sorghum has long been recognised as the grain crop with the greatest ability to produce in situations of limited water supply," Dr Borrell said.

On current projections, global grain trade will increase from around 200 million tonnes at present to around 300 million tonnes by 2020. "Again, sorghum is uniquely placed to meet much of the increased demand for feed grain, particularly as much of the increased grain production is likely to have to come from more marginal growing areas," Dr Borrell said.

Other sorghum-related issues discussed included sorghum ergot, marketing, optimising water and nutrient use, sorghum's place in farming systems, the latest sorghum midge and heliothis developments.

Program 2.3.1 Contact: Dr Andrew Borrell 07 4661 2944

Region North