Farmers in the Southern Plains of the United States are seeing more incentive to plant sorghum this year.
Near the Gulf of Mexico, new-crop cash bids have been as much as $1.50 more than the price of corn, and, in Kansas, 30-40 cents more than corn.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates a 400,000-acre increase in sorghum planting this year, but that’s based on a model that may not include China’s forward purchases for the 2015-16 crop year. Nearly 300,000 metric tons have already been purchased by China and other unknown importers for the 2015-16 marketing year.
Halfway through the 2014-15 marketing year, sorghum export sales have already reached USDA’s forecast, 96 percent of which went to China.
The popularity of sorghum can be attributed to the dispute over biotech corn in China, but so too can better education of China’s livestock feeders on sorghum and Chinas import tariffs and quotas.
China imports about 10 million metric tons of feed grains each year, and has a system of tariff rate quotas (TRQ) that limit the quantity of certain grain imports. The TRQ for corn is 2.88 million metric tons, which leaves just over 7 million metric tons to be supplied by other feed grains, such as sorghum.
Sorghum: China Fueling the Need for More U.S. Acres – DTN