Sorghum as fish feed

 

Kenyan farmers embrace improved sorghum cultivars and explore its use as fish feed

Farmers in eastern Kenya are taking to sorghum cultivation to tide over poor harvests of maize. Since many of the farmers are also into aquaculture, they are evaluating sorghum varieties which are suitable as fish feed.

Most famers experience food shortages due to their reliance on maize. But farmers who plant sorghum and pearl millet always get a harvest even with the lightest rains. These observations made over a period of time were confirmed by Mr Kyalo Mwengi and a group of farmers during a sorghum field day held on Mr Mwengi’s farm at Kiboko along the Kiboko River.

Apart from growing sorghum for food, Mr Mwengi and his group are members of the Kenya Aquaculture Association and own several fish ponds. However, they have experienced a shortage of fish feed and want to use sorghum in their fish feed formulations. The group which has already received a feed pelleting machine from the national government will work with ICRISAT and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to identify a variety suitable for fish feed.

 

Read the full story: ICRISAT

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Drought-tolerant sorghum and millet in Malawi

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Farmers at a Participatory Varietal Selection trial for sorghum at Salima in central Malawi.
Photo: E Manyasa, ICRISAT

New sorghum and finger millet cultivars ready to take off in Malawi

Three early-maturing sorghum cultivars are in the process of getting released in Malawi, while the introduction of three finger millet varieties selected by farmers are expected to resurrect a crop that has ‘disappeared’ in the southern region of the country.

The three sorghum varieties earmarked for on-farm testing and release – KARI Mtama 1, R8602 and IESV 23006 DL – are suitable for food and for brewing beer. In the case of finger millet, farmers wanted access to seeds of Gulu E, ACC 32 and KNE 1124 varieties, so that they can start growing the crop again.

Farmer-preferred traits and potential for sorghum

Field days were held at four Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) sites – Salima in central Malawi, Supuni and Magoti in southern Malawi, and Nyanje near the Mozambique border. The farmers at all the sites expressed their desire for early-maturing varieties. Drought tolerance, early and high yield, sweet taste (especially green grain) and good grain size and color (white for food and brown for beer) were the key traits considered in sorghum variety selection.

The potential also exists to increase brown grain sorghum production for brewing through high-yielding varieties. The current sorghum grain production for brewing stands at 200 metric tons against a demand of 800 metric tons.

Farmer-preferred traits and potential for finger millet

High yield, light brown color and short duration were the traits preferred by farmers for finger millet. Demonstration of fertilizer use (both organic and inorganic) was appreciated as it showed visible significant yield advantage over nonusage of fertilizer. The high nutritive value of finger millet was highlighted and the demonstration of improved agronomic practices for increased production especially in view of the deteriorating soil and changing climatic conditions was appreciated by farmers.

Demand for other drought-tolerant crops:

The farmers requested for more PVS sites and inclusion of other drought-tolerant crops like pearl millet, groundnut and pigeonpea. The village chief at Magoti site, who is a woman farmer said, “We want to end hunger in this village. The rainfall we receive is not enough to raise a maize crop. We therefore depend on drought-tolerant crops for food.’’

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Preventing land degradation and effective use of water resources

Photo credit: Google

Eleusine coracana is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. Earliest Karnataka civilisation shows it was grown in Hallur in the later Iron Age. Wikipedia

Breeding climate-smart crops top priority for Indian state of Karnataka

Breeding climate-smart sorghum, finger millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut crops figure high on the agenda of the Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Chickpea (Cicer anietinum) - http://www.cilr.uq.edu.au/UserImages/Image/ImageGallery/larger_images/Chickpea%20flowers_big.jpg
Chickpea (Cicer anietinum) – http://www.cilr.uq.edu.au/UserImages/Image/ImageGallery/larger_images/Chickpea%20flowers_big.jpg

Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, GoK, said that Karnataka will soon sign an agreement with ICRISAT and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, India, to produce non-GM varieties of the above five crops. A consortium would be formed for this purpose and will be funded by GoK.

Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) -   http://www.icrisat.org/what-we-do/crops/crops-pigeonpea/pigeonpea-asia.jpg
Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) – http://www.icrisat.org/what-we-do/crops/crops-pigeonpea/pigeonpea-asia.jpg

With 2015 being the International Year of Soils, he said that the upcoming Bhoochetana Plus program would lay great emphasis on preventing land degradation and effective use of water resources.

“Our soils are not just thirsty, they are hungry too,” he said referring to the micronutrient deficiencies that the soil tests have revealed during the first phase of the Bhoochetana project initiated by ICRISAT. He said the government aims to issue Soil Health Cards to all farmers in Karnataka by 2016-17.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Sorghum, one of the ‘Climate Change Ready’ crops

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Members of a farmers group in Wote, eastern Kenya, evaluating their Sorghum trial field.
Photo: Christine angari, ICRISAT

Go for sorghum, say climate smart Kenyan farmers

EXCERPT

Sorghum assures us of nutritious food for our families as well as cattle; sorghum fetches a better price than maize and gives more yield per acre. Sorghum has changed our lives for the better… say farmers in Wote, eastern Kenya, who have adopted sorghum-legume technologies instead of the traditional maize-bean intercrop. The farmers were addressing a group of journalists who visited their farms recently.

In 2013, the planting season in Gongo, Kenya started with heavy rains. But just as quickly as the rains had arrived, they faded.  - http://oneacrefund.org/uploads/all-files/_DSC0198.jpg
In 2013, the planting season in Gongo, Kenya started with heavy rains. But just as quickly as the rains had arrived, they faded. – http://oneacrefund.org/uploads/all-files/_DSC0198.jpg

“Sorghum adapts well to a wide range of environmental and soil fertility conditions and is considered to be one of the ‘Climate Change Ready’ crops. Also sorghum and legume cropping systems have inherent resilience to drought and therefore enhance food and nutrition security for households in the drylands,” said Mr Patrick Sheunda, Research Assistant, ICRISAT.

One of the three field trial sites for Moi University  - https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQOcCiNwcX7UZG5DqhNRL4PzpS6kf_ODaa_29InRQoGy59jXboO
One of the three field trial sites for Moi University – https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQOcCiNwcX7UZG5DqhNRL4PzpS6kf_ODaa_29InRQoGy59jXboO

Based on these findings, a group of partners which included the Kenyan Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO); the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Government of Kenya; and ICRISAT introduced sorghum and two legume crops (cowpea and green gram), with inherent resilience to drought, to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers. The project has so far reached 366 farmers in Wote, who have adopted the sorghum-legume cropping system.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Research: More productive Sorghum

Photo credit: Phys Org

Scientists develop higher yielding sorghum plants

by Dennis O’brien and Sharon Durham

EXCERPT

When it comes to versatile crop plants, sorghum might be considered “the little engine that could.”

It is drought tolerant, can thrive in poor soils, requires little or no fertilizer, and will grow in a wide range of temperatures and altitudes. Sorghum grain is used in breakfast cereals, in ethanol production, as feed for livestock, as a source of sugar for syrup and molasses, and in construction and packaging materials. It also produces large amounts of plant material, making it potentially useful for cellulosic .

The photograph above shows sorghum growing in a breeder’s field in Lubbock, Texas. The panicle on the left, with orange-yellow seeds, is an elite inbred line, while the panicle on the right is the same elite line with an induced mutation. This new sorghum variety, developed by ARS scientists, yields 30 to 40 percent more seeds. Credit: Zhanguo Xin - http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/2015/3-scientistsde.jpg
The photograph above shows sorghum growing in a breeder’s field in Lubbock, Texas. The panicle on the left, with orange-yellow seeds, is an elite inbred line, while the panicle on the right is the same elite line with an induced mutation. This new sorghum variety, developed by ARS scientists, yields 30 to 40 percent more seeds. Credit: Zhanguo Xin – http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/2015/3-scientistsde.jpg

“We developed the productive sorghum line by inducing a mutation of sorghum plants that allowed infertile spikelets to grow and produce seed,” says Xin. An induced mutation is produced by treatment with a mutagen, like radiation or a chemical agent such as ethyl methane sulfonate. The mutation resulted in an overall increase in size and volume (length, width, and thickness) of the sorghum panicle.

“All of the spikelets of the new sorghum plant develop into flowers and produce mature seeds, thereby significantly increasing seed production and yield in comparison to conventional sorghum. The mutants may be crossed with other sorghum lines, particularly elite large-seeded lines, to improve grain yield in sorghum and other related species,” says Xin. “The mutation in the sorghum line we developed is stable and can be passed on to other sorghum lines through breeding.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-scientists-higher-yielding-sorghum.html#jCp

Read the full article: Phys Org

Grain sorghum as a drought-tolerant alternative (Google / Southwest Farm Press)

Read at : Google Alerts – drought-tolerant plants

http://southwestfarmpress.com/grains/better-sorghum-yields-and-varieties-coming

Better sorghum yields and varieties coming

Jan. 6, 2014

As 2014 gets underway, cotton growers in the Texas Coastal Bend are preparing fields for seeding, but after another year of drought disaster that destroyed 90 percent of cotton acres across the region in 2013, many are looking to grain sorghum as a drought-tolerant alternative.

Many area farmers are expected to crowd into the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown Thursday, January 9, when the Sorghum Checkoff and other sponsors open the doors on the 2014 Sorghum U, a farmer focused educational program designed to bring growers up-to-date on the latest developments and news related to the popularity of growing grain sorghum as an alternative crop.

The one-day educational series will provide growers with information about the changing business environment for farmers, using technology efficiently, managing sorghum for top yields, marketing strategies, and lessons learned from farmers in previous growing seasons.

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