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Field of sorghum.

Field of sorghum.

C037/2494

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Credit

MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

New varieties of this ancient African cereal are now gaining importance in Europe - particularly France. Sorghum - Sorghum bicolor - is the fourth most important cereal in the world after wheat, rice and maize but it's cultivation as a human food plant is mainly restricted to Africa, India, and China. As well as being salt and drought tolerant it will also grow in toxic soils where other plants cannot thrive. It can be used to fix nitrogen in the soil and to improve and stabilise eroded soils. In Europe it is used primarily in industry and as animal feed in the form of forage. Selective breeding has extended its range considerably but it is still susceptible to frost. This field is close to the sea by an airport. La Rochelle, France.

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