While corn, wheat, and rice continue to be the primary food grains that people consume, research into some food grade grain sorghums has produced a few commercially viable hybrids that can be used as an alternative in certain small markets.
“Texas A&M was one of the leaders in developing the first food quality sorghum hybrids.”
TAMU Soil and Crop Sciences Professor Bill Rooney says for many years we didn’t want to grow sorghums with tannins and pigment in them because they weren’t good for animal feed.
“ Well it turns out that if you want a healthy sorghum from a human perspective, putting tannins or colors in those sorghums is one of the best things you can do. Colored and dark sorghums are very high in anti-oxidants. If you have tannins present in there, they’re very efficient at binding the grain and slowing the digestion down, so that you reduce problems with diabetes or fast digesting food and spikes in blood sugar.”
We were surprised by some of the products already available using food grade sorghum.
“This product, I know for a fact was made out of this hybrid. This is a hybrid that was developed here at A&M that’s grown commercially and produced and I know they made that product out of that. I don’t know what grain they used for this one and I know this one used the same grain.”
Most sorghums currently gown are red, white, or cream color.
“What we’ve done with this is just selected for an extremely dark color, and with that dark color we get very high levels of anti-oxidants in the grain itself, that then if you process and use in a food product are transferred to that food product.”
This new hybrid is called Onyx, and the seed production is underway.
“We know what their yield potentials are, and we know what their nutrient and health food compound measurements are, and so we’re presenting that information to potential licensees that would want to use the material.”
This presents farmers with another opportunity to grow a crop that will pay a premium in order to fill the demand of a small niche market. I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.