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close this bookBetter Farming Series 15 - Cereals (FAO - INADES, 1977, 51 p.)
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View the documentPreface
close this folderWhat are food crops?
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View the documentWhat cereals are grown in Africa?
View the documentWhy cereals are grown
View the documentWhy we should produce and sell more cereals
View the documentTraditional cereal growing
close this folderGrowing cereals in the modern way
View the documentClearing land and grubbing out trees
View the documentConserving and improving the soil
View the documentApplying manure and fertilizers
View the documentPreparing the soil
View the documentSelecting and preparing seeds
View the documentSowing in rows
View the documentHow to look after cereals
View the documentHarvesting
View the documentSelling part of the harvest
close this folderSorghum and millet
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View the documentSorghum
close this folderMillet
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close this folderHow to grow sorghum and millet
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View the documentGrowing sorghum in the dry season
View the documentSorghum for animal feeding
close this folderMaize
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View the documentTraditional maize growing
View the documentHow to increase maize yields
close this folderOther cereals
View the documentFonio
View the documentFinger millet
View the documentWheat
View the documentSuggested question paper


Sorghum is a tall cereal, more than 2 metres high.

Its stem has long leaves.

At the top of the stem is the spike.

Sorghum plant

Spike of sorghum

The spike contains the sorghum grains. Their colour is white, black, yellow or red.

Sorghum grows in savanna country that is not too dry. It needs about 1 metre of rain a year.

Sorghum likes light soil that lets rain run through, that is, permeable soil.


Sorghum is sometimes called "great millet" because it has rather large grains.

· There are several very different varieties of sorghum:

· Grain sorghums These are the kind most grown in Africa. They yield grain for human food.

· Sweet sorghums The stem contains a sweet liquid. They are grown in equatorial Africa and Northern Cameroon.

· Broom sorghums These have very large spikes, like a broom.

· Fodder sorghums These are cut when still green for animal feeding.

· Each of these varieties includes several kinds that ripen at different times.

· Early sorghums ripen 80 to 110 days after sowing.

· Medium early sorghums ripen 115 to 130 days after sowing

· Medium late sorghums ripen 130 to 145 days after sowing.

· Late sorghums ripen about 190 days after sowing.

Some kinds of sorghum are preferred for human food, others for making beer.