Texas Neighbors Fall 2016 : Page 6

A Grain that Packs a Punch

Jessica Domel

From baked goods to packing peanuts and even home insulation, grain sorghum is a small grain that packs a big punch.

Sorghum, sometimes called milo or maize, is grown from the Rio Grande Valley to the tip of the Texas Pan-handle. It’s green when growing. And turns brown or white, depending on the variety, when it’s ready for harvest.

We use it for all kinds of things—like feeding live-stock, pets and humans alike.

“If you are a person who has gluten intolerance or you have Celiac disease, sorghum doesn’t have gluten. You can make flour. You can buy beer that has sorghum in it,” Dale Artho, Deaf Smith County Farm Bureau member and grain sorghum grower, said.

Sorghum can also be popped like popcorn and turned into a sweet syrup. It’s even made into flour.

But its uses don’t stop there.

“You can make packing peanuts out of it that you would get from FedEx,” Artho said. “As a consumer, environmentally, you’re looking at a crop that’s very friendly to the environment. It fits in. There’s low water usage. There are high yields whenever the rains are there and still yields whenever it’s dry.”

And there’s more.

Sorghum is also used in ethanol and spray insulation for homes and other buildings.

But before the grain makes its way into our homes and products we use every day, it gets its start in fields like Artho’s.

Artho plants his sorghum from late April through June. He then harvests in September or October.

“For me, it’s a fun crop to grow. It’s a 90-day crop. It just comes up as such a pretty crop. We have different colors. You have the whites and the reds and the creams,” Artho said. “If you’re in the floral business, I would think that would be fun. We have different colors and that shows up in the combine bin.”

So the next time you’re driving through the country and see a colorful field of sorghum, think about all the ways those seeds are used. And know that Texas is second in the nation in terms of milo production—ensuring Texans have plenty of sorghum for all of its many uses.

Read the full article at http://texasneighbors.texasfarmbureau.org/article/A+Grain+that+Packs+a+Punch/2596231/342204/article.html.

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