What is the crop of the future

In a world grappling with the impact of climate change on agriculture, the search for sustainable and resilient crops has never been more critical. Enter sorghum, an ancient grain that is being hailed as the “crop of the future.” 

Climate scientists worldwide, from the Innovative Genomics Institute to the Department of Energy, are excited about sorghum for a variety of reasons. For starters, sorghum is incredibly resilient, able to withstand both drought and flood conditions. This makes it a crop capable of feeding world populations and combating food scarcity. 

Secondly, sorghum is a powerful ally in the fight against climate change. Its deep root system not only captures atmospheric carbon, storing it deep underground, but also adapts to future environmental needs. Along with its affordable price, sorghum emerges as an important element of sustainable agriculture, signaling a shift toward a more resilient, environmentally conscious future.

What is Sorghum/Broomcorn?

Originating from the fertile lands of Ethiopia and Sudan, sorghum or broomcorn is a genus of about 25 species of hardy flowering plants in the grass family. Easy to grow, this remarkable plant thrives in a variety of climates and soil types including heat and poor soil. Minimal water is needed to grow sorghum, yet it is surprisingly flood tolerant, making it a staple in regions ranging from Africa to the Americas. 

In the U.S, sorghum serves a variety of purposes. A super grain that’s packed full of nutrients, it’s used to make molasses, gluten-free breads and cereals, alcohol, and even biofuels. In fact, 30% of domestic sorghum goes to ethanol production. Additionally, thanks to its high lignocellulose content, sorghum can even be used in building materials such as fireboard paneling, bricks, and fencing. 

Most importantly, sorghum helps with biological carbon removal, a process where plants and microbes extract excess atmospheric carbon and store it underground. This process relies heavily on photosynthesis, converting carbon into plant biomass like leaves, grains, and roots. Unlike plants with shallow roots, which often release carbon back into the atmosphere, sorghum’s extensive root system is six feet or deeper, making it a promising tool in the fight against climate change.

What’s more, researchers and scientists are using CRISPR gene-editing technology to fine-tune the plant’s photosynthesis and root characteristics. In the near future, researchers will work on optimizing relationships between roots and soil microbes to increase carbon retention. In other words, to pull more carbon out of the atmosphere, and permanently store it underground.

The future for farmers

As we face the challenges of climate change, food security, and sustainable agriculture, sorghum stands tall as a symbol of hope and resilience. And with its adaptation to various environments, coupled with scientific advancements, it’s truly a crop of the future.

Opti-Harvest is also a key player in the future of agriculture. Our modern products for crops such as Opti-Gro and Opti-Shield help crop farmers prepare for climate change while maximizing production. When you work with Opti-Harvest, you’re choosing a sustainable and resilient path forward for our planet. Call us today.

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