Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of the sorghum plant which has a high sugar content. Sweet sorghum is a type of grass that thrives better under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and syrup production.
Sweet sorghum has been widely cultivated in the U.S. since the 1850s for use in sweeteners, primarily in the form of sorghum syrup. By the early 1900s, the U.S. produced 20 million US gallons (76,000 m3) of sweet sorghum syrup annually. Making syrup from sorghum (as from sugar cane) is heavily labor intensive. Following World War II, with the declining availability of farm labor, sorghum syrup production fell drastically. Currently, less than 1 million US gallons (3,800 m3) are produced annually in the U.S. Most sorghum grown for syrup production is grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Sorghum syrup and hot biscuits are a traditional breakfast in the Southern United States. Sorghum syrup is also used on pancakes, cornmeal mush, grits and other hot cereals. It can be used as a cooking ingredient with similar effects as molasses. Despite the fact that the nutritional content of sorghum syrup is relatively high, blackstrap molasses is still a better source in most regards.
In the U.S. since the 1950s, sorghum has been raised primarily for forage and silage, with sorghum cultivation for cattle feed concentrated in the Great Plains (Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska are the leading producers), where insufficient rainfall and high temperature make corn production unprofitable.
Sweet sorghum syrup is called "molasses" or "sorghum molasses" in some regions of the U.S., but the term molasses more properly refers to a different sweet syrup, made as a byproduct of sugarcane or sugar beet sugar extraction.
Grain sorghum has been utilized by the ethanol industry for quite some time because it yields approximately the same amount of ethanol per bushel as corn. As new generation ethanol processes are studied and improved, sorghum's role may continue to expand.
In India, and other places, sweet sorghum stalks are used for producing bio-fuel by squeezing the juice and then fermenting into ethanol. Texas A&M University in the United States is currently running trials to produce the best varieties for ethanol production from sorghum leaves and stalks in the USA.
See also 
- Camp Sorghum, historical use of sorghum molasses
- "Sorghum Syrup". Spiritfoods. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Developing a new renewable fuel and food industry in Australia: sweet sorghum". RIRDC. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Sweet Sorghum : A New “Smart Biofuel Crop”". Agriculture Business Week. 30 June 2008.
- Ceres and Texas A&M to Develop and Market High-Biomass Sorghum for Biofuels[dead link]