Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Pedersen, J.F. 1996. Annual forages: New approaches for C-4 forages. p. 246-251. In: J. Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.


Copyright 1996 Jeffrey F. Pedersen


The current agricultural paradigm in the U.S. is heavily biased towards the production and marketing of crops as commodities. This paradigm is kept in place by grain handling and marketing infrastructure, as well as government farm programs, designed for crops as commodities. Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) and maize (Zea mays L.) grown for grain certainly fit into this current paradigm.

A new approach to agricultural production and marketing, identity preserved products, is gaining in importance. This is made possible through new technologies and markets demanding products designed specifically for their needs. Examples of investment in identity preserved products include Pioneer Hi-Bred's new research facility for grain quality (Johnson 1995), DuPont's current emphasis on value-added maize (Freiberg 1994), and Iowa State University's value-added grain marketing program (Wrage 1995). However, marketing strategies for such new grain products must be outside the current norm of sale to a local elevator and resale of a bulk commodity to grain consumers.

Sorghum and maize grown for forage are already outside of the current marketing structure for grain crops. They are typically grown, stored, and fed on the same farm. Management decisions including choice of hybrids can be based on end use. As such, it could be argued that the current paradigm for production and utilization of forages in the United States, especially annual forages, is very favorable for the development and marketing of identity preserved hybrids and varieties designed for specific end users.