Experiences with the planting of Sorghum bicolor L (Moench) in Switzerland


Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench is one of the most important arable crops worldwide. Although the main cropping area lies in warm regions like India, Africa and America, sorghum is also cropped successfully in Europe. Surface planted with sorghum increased again during the past few years, among other reasons also because of the low pressure of insects and diseases and because its ability to outlast drought periods better compared to maize. Up to now little information about the cropping of sorghum in Switzerland was available. In order to gain information about the quantity and quality of sorghum grown in Switzerland, field trials with different varieties were established during the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. Best yields of the earliest maturing varieties in the year 2009 in the small plot experiment were satisfactory: up to 11.0 t ha-1 with a dry matter content of 84% at the time of the harvest. In order to meet the requirements for a fast development, a complete pollination and grain formation, only sites excluding natural depressions or wind-exposed sites and the prevention of too early seeding should be consid¬ered. The analyses of the grains showed, that the Swiss sorghum is of good quality and can compete for this aspect with imported sorghum. This successful cropping of sorghum in Switzerland shows, that more information on C4-species is necessary to Swiss farmers, as the availability of cultivars adapted to the climatic conditions in Switzerland can offer a solution to the changing conditions of the environment.


sorghum; variety; field trials; amino acids; components

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