Worldwide, sorghum is a food grain for humans. In the United States, sorghum is used primarily as a feed grain for livestock. Feed value of grain sorghum is similar to corn. The grain has more protein and fat than corn, but is lower in vitamin A. When compared with corn on a per pound basis, grain sorghum feeding value ranges from 90% to nearly equal to corn. The grain is highly palatable to livestock, and intake seldom limits livestock productivity. However, some sorghum varieties and hybrids which were developed to deter birds are less palatable due to tannins and phenolic compounds in the seed. The grain should be cracked or rolled before feeding to cattle; this improves the portion digested.
Pasturing cattle or sheep on sorghum stubble, after the grain has been harvested, is a common practice. Both roughage and dropped heads are utilized. Stubble with secondary growth must be pastured carefully because of the danger of prussic acid (HCN) poisoning.
Grain sorghum may also be used as whole-plant silage, however another sorghum, sweet sorghum, was developed as a silage crop. Sweet sorghum produces much higher forage yields than grain sorghum, but feed quality will likely be lesser because there is no grain. Some growers mix grain sorghum with soybeans to produce a higher protein silage crop.
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