Sorghum farming is the growing of sorghum. Sorghum farming can also be explained as the growing of sorghum crop for the purpose of harvesting the sorghum grains.
Sorghum farming involves all the processes associated with the cultivation of sorghum. These processes include getting the seeds, land preparation, planting, maintenance of the sorghum plants, harvesting and marketing of the produce.
Sorghum is a cereal grain. It is one of staple foods of Nigerians. Sorghum is also used for industrial applications like the production of beer and the production of pap and baby food.
Sorghum is mainly grown in the northern part of Nigeria. It is also grown in the northern part of Oyo state. Sorghum can tolerate poor soil and do well on them.
Sorghum grows in a well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 and 7.0.
Steps to take to start sorghum farming in Nigeria
The following are the steps to plant sorghum in Nigeria:
- Farmland or Site Selection
- Climatic Requirements
- Soil Suitable for Sorghum Farming
- Soil Preparation
- Sorghum Variety to Plant
- Equipment to Use for Sorghum Farming
- Planting of the Sorghum Seeds
- Weed Control
- Fertilizer and Manure Management
- Management of Pests and Diseases
1) Farmland or Site Selection
To grow sorghum, you need to find a suitable farmland site. The farmland should have good access road so that the produce of the sorghum farm can be easily evacuated to the market.
The farmland should also have a good soil suitable for sorghum farming.
2) Climatic Requirements
Sorghum grows in tropical conditions. Sorghum does not like too much rainfall, ence, the reason it is widely grown in the northern part of Nigeria.
Sorghum requires good sunlight. It also requires water. Sorghum is usually grown in the rainy season in Nigeria.
3) Soil Suitable for Sorghum Farming
Sandy loamy soil is the most suitable soil for sorghum farming in Nigeria. The soil should be well-draining. Sorghum will not produce a high yield if the soil is poor in nutrients.
The soil pH should be 6.0 – 7.0. Acidic soil should be amended with limestone or dolomite. Limestone will add calcium to the soil and increase the pH.
4) Soil Preparation
The farmland to be used for sorghum farming should be clear of trees, stumps and weeds. If you are using a forest, you may need to clear the trees, stumps and weeds so that you can grow your sorghum crop.
Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should also be done. Several rounds of ploughing may be done so that the soil will be very loose. Ridges can be used to row sorghum if the farmland is in a low lying area.
5) Choosing the Sorghum Variety to Plant
Sorghum generally does well in tropical areas like Nigeria. The most popular sorghum varieties in Nigeria are Samsorg 45 and Samsorg 46. These varieties are well suited for the conditions in Nigeria. They are also high yielding.
6) Equipment to Use for Sorghum Farming
The following equipment can be used for sorghum farming
- Farm House
- Power Tiller
- Earth Augers
- Weeders etc.
Irrigation is important for sorghum farming in Nigeria as this crop is grown in the dry season months when there is little or no rains.
The following are the types of irrigation that can be used for sorghum farming in Nigeria:
- Drip Irrigation
- Sprinkler Irrigation
- Furrow Irrigation
- Spray Tube Irrigation etc.
8) Planting of the Sorghum Seeds
Sorghum seeds should be planted in 1 – 2 cm deep hole. The intra row spacing of sorghum plant should be 5 - 15cm while the inter row spacing should be 10cm – 30 cm.
Most sorghum farmers in Nigeria use the broadcasting method to plant their sorghum seeds.
9) Weed Control
The most effective method of weed control in weed farming is the use of herbicides. There are selective herbicides that can be used for the control of weeds in sorghum farming. The selective herbicides kill the weeds without killing the sorghum plants.
Cultural practices like weeding with hoes and cutlasses can also be used to remove weeds on sorghum farms.
Mulches like plastic mulch and organic mulch can also be used for weed control in sorghum farming.
10) Fertilizer and Manure Management
Fertilizers like NPK fertilizers, urea, Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertilizer, Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer and Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) can be used for sorghum farming.
A soil analysis or test has to be done to know the level of nutrients in the soil before the application of fertilizers.
For farmers using the drip irrigation system, soluble fertilizers can be passed to the root zone of the sorghum plants using the drip irrigation tubings.
11) Management of Pests and Diseases
Pesticides like insecticides, fungicides, bactericides and nematicides etc. should be used to manage pests and diseases in sorghum farms. Though sorghum crop is rugged and hardy, it can still be affected by pests and diseases.
Pesticides like Belt Expert, Decis, Ampligo and Tihan etc. can be used to manage pests and diseases in sorghum plants.
Harvesting starts within 90 – 120 days depending on the variety. Harvesting can be done through the use of mechanized harvesters. Harvesting can also be done by hand using tools like sickles.
Sorghum is usually sold to big processors like flour millers and pasta producers. The harvested sorghum is usually packed in 100kg bags.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a One Hectare Sorghum Farm in Nigeria
The cost to start a one hectare sorghum farm is detailed below:
- Rent of one hectare farmland: ₦20,000
- Clearing, Ploughing and Harrowing: ₦55,000
- Seeds: ₦40,000
- Planting: ₦10,000
- Irrigation: ₦300,000 – ₦650,000 (Optional)
- Fertilizers and Manure: ₦20,000 – ₦100,000 (Depending on soil fertility)
- Pesticides: ₦20,000
- Others: ₦100,000
FAQ on Sorghum Farming
a) Question: Are there high yielding and early maturing sorghum varieties in Nigeria
Answer: Yes, there are high yielding and early maturing sorghum varieties in Nigeria. You can get these varieties from us.
b) Question: Can drip irrigation be used for sorghum farming?
Answer: Yes, drip irrigation can be used for the growing of sorghum, however, this may be too expensive.
c) Question: Is sorghum farming profitable?
Answer: Sorghum farming is profitable if good agricultural practices are implemented.
d) Question: What is the average yield of sorghum?
Answer: The average sorghum farmer does 2 -5 tons yield per hectare of sorghum.
e) Question: What fertilizers are good for sorghum farming in Nigeria?
Answer: NPK, urea, SSP and DAP fertilizers are the common types of fertilizers used for sorghum farming in Nigeria. However, fertilizers like humates, potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate etc. can also be used for sorghum farming too.
Should you need any information on sorghum farming in Nigeria, kindly contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read our latest article on the cost of sorghum farming per hectare in Nigeria.