Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Proceedings of the International Conference on Genetic Improvement of Sorghum and Pearl Millet, September 22 - 27,1996, Holiday Inn Plaza, Lubbock, Texas


U.S. Government Work


Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] and pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] are unique species in their ability to be used in many forage llivestock system roles. Such flexibility has made prioritizing breeding objectives difficult and has even contributed to contradictory opinions on appropriate forage breeding objectives. Few breeding projects identified in the USDA-ARS, USDA-CREES, or at ICRISAT had forage sorghum or forage pearl millet as their sole research assignment. In the United States, it can be argued that breeding resources committed to forage sorghum improvement are probably declining. A new forage sorghum and forage pearl millet project recently considered by INTSORMIL did not receive high enough priority to receive funding from available resources.

This paper discusses: new technologies, including automated harvesting systems, statistical methods, and forage quality assessment methods, that allow considerable increases in the scale and efficiencies of forage sorghum and millet breeding programs; examples of genes coding for characters known to impact forage quality; the status of the ethanol industry in general; the prospect for ethanol from biomass; and production of paper from stover. Due to limited resources, forage sorghum and millet breeding programs will have to focus on narrow, high impact objectives and utilize the best available technology.