OSU receives sorghum data grant

A recent $3.1 million grant awarded to Oklahoma State University to study greenhouse gas emissions is expected to help sorghum farmers save money and improve the industry’s sustainable field management practices.

The three-state research project approved under the SMARTFARM program of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy is headed by Gopal Kakani, professor of crops, energy and climate in the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. As principal investigator, Kakani is supported by teams of co-investigators at OSU, Kansas State University and Texas A&M University.

The researchers will be looking closely at data related to field-level emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. Sorghum was chosen due in large part because of the growing market interest in bio-energy feedstocks, Kakani said. Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma are three of the nation’s main sorghum-producing states and the crop is starting to displace corn in the Panhandle because of its water efficiency. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data through the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 300,000 acres of sorghum was planted in Oklahoma in 2018; grain sorghum alone had a total value of about $40.66 million that year. Nationwide, about 5.07 million acres were planted to grain sorghum, with a value that year of $1.58 billion.