Sorghum field

Storing high moisture sorghum reduces tannins and mold contents

Alvaro Garcia

Sorghum for grain is a popular crop in parts of the world where water availability can hamper adequate corn yields. In addition to better coping with dry conditions, sorghum is also more resistant to the attack of insects, and molds. The reason for this is the presence of tannins in some sorghum varieties.

Tannins are phenolic compounds present in the protein matrix of the endosperm that protect the starch from degradation by enzymes. What is advantageous to the grain, however, is detrimental for cattle performance since it reduces the digestible energy available. Physical methods of processing such as rolling and fine grinding disrupt this protein matrix and help reduce this resistance to starch degradation.

What problems will we have if we store high moisture sorghum?

Another approach is to ensile the crop as high moisture sorghum. Aside from reducing the need for storage of large amounts of dry grain, it also helps increase its degradability. Fungi spores present everywhere in farms (air, soil, farm equipment, etc.) are opportunistic organisms that will attack the grain when it is weakened, stressed or damaged. Similarly, they will also affect during transportation, storage, and feed-out when not using best management practices. One concern then when storing high moisture grains is the development of these molds and their mycotoxins.

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