Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Bioenerg. Res. (2013) 6:91–102. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-012-9231-1


A fundamental need for commercialization of sweet sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] as a bioenergy crop is an adequate seed supply, which will require development of hybrid varieties using dwarf seed-parent lines. A set of six public sweet sorghum A-lines (Dwarf Kansas Sourless, KS9, N36, N38, N39, and N4692) were crossed with a set of six public sweet sorghum cultivars (Brawley, Kansas Collier, Dale, Sugar Drip, Waconia, and Wray). Grain, fiber, and sugar yields were determined, and conversion formulas were applied to estimate ethanol yields. Hybrids were grown in fields at Ithaca, NE, USA, in 1983– 1984 fertilized with 112 kg ha−1 N. In terms of yield components and overall ethanol yields, one A-line, N38, was inferior. Average total ethanol yields from hybrids made on the other A-lines were not significantly different, suggesting that any of those five A-lines could be useful seed-parents. With the exception of grain yield, cultivars used as pollen parents were among the highest-performing entries for all traits. For all traits directly contributing to total ethanol yield (grain yield, juice yield, % soluble solids, sugar yield, fiber yield), hybrids were also among the highest-performing entries. Results of this study demonstrate that hybrid sweet sorghum with performance criteria equivalent to existing sweet sorghum cultivars can be produced on the sweet sorghum seed-parent lines A-Dwarf Kansas Sourless, AKS9, A-N36, A-N39, and A-N4692. Identification of specific seed-parent × pollen parent lines with characteristics best suited for particular growing regions and end-user needs will be critical for commercial hybrid development.