Sorghum Bi-Weekly Crop Update - May 1

By:Kayla Wilkins, Communications Intern

The latest USDA crop update released April 26, 2015, indicated 24 percent of the nation’s grain sorghum has been planted, two percentage points behind last year. Louisiana and Arkansas were the most active in sorghum planting this week, reaching 71 and 42 percent, respectively. According to the USDA crop update, producers are now beginning planting in the Mid-Atlantic.

SOUTH TEXAS  Producers in the coastal bend are nearly finished planting. The temperature is up in the mid 80s, giving the crop the opportunity to emerge after the extensive rainfall recently. Danny Beyer of Odem, Texas, said sorghum has been emerging, up anywhere from two inches to knee-high, leading him to predict a longer harvest this year. A worry for producers is a later harvest date may run into tropical storm season, causing the need to get grain cut as quickly as possible. The market is holding steady between $8.50 and $9.00 per hundred weight. Beyer is anxious for the coming year with his grain sorghum crop.

“We’ve got everything we need right now,” Beyer said. “Everything seems to be coming up good, and it’s starting to look pretty nice around here.”

WEST TEXAS/PANHANDLE  Producers have been experiencing continued rainfall, increasing soil moisture over the last week. Texas, as a whole, is 57 percent finished planting grain sorghum, according to the latest report, and early planting across West Texas is just a couple days shy of completion. Mike Henson of Ropesville, Texas, said he has noticed an increase in acres and heard of a few producers planning to put in 100 percent grain sorghum acres on their operations.

KANSAS  Soil temperatures in Kansas are averaging 55.2 degrees, still too low for producers to begin planting. Al Tiemeyer of Cheney, Kansas, said the soil temperatures need to reach and remain around 60 degrees before farmers can get seed in the ground. Early planters should get started later this week or early next week. Other producers in the area should all be planted by June 20. The basis for grain sorghum at Tiemeyer's local elevator this week was 15 cents under corn and new crop bids were $3.67 per bushel.

OKLAHOMA  Despite the lack of soil moisture, Oklahoma is 20 percent finished planting grain sorghum. Some regions in Oklahoma experienced rainfall last week and the soil temperatures have been in the low 60s.. According to the latest report, the daily cash price for grain sorghum is $6.46 to $7.96 across the state.

NEW MEXICO – Producers in New Mexico are about 80-90 percent done prepping the soil to plant grain sorghum within the next month. No-till farmers are busy spraying and preparing to plant grain sorghum, as well. Matt Lansford of Clovis, New Mexico, said some regions in New Mexico received rain, but producers still need more to get the soil moisture up. The cash price for grain sorghum this week is $3.99 per bushel.

NEBRASKA – Regions across Nebraska have gotten minimal rainfall in the past two weeks and soil temperatures are still fairly cool, around 52 degrees. Duane Vorderstraussee of New Orleans, Nebraska, said producers should finish planting corn in the next four or five days then should move on to soybeans and start planting grain sorghum in the next two or three weeks. The old crop bid for grain sorghum was 70 cents over corn this week and cash crop is $3.99 per bushel.

SOUTH DAKOTA  Producers across the region are finishing up planting corn acres and should begin planting grain sorghum acres within the next week. Jerry Van Zee of Platte, South Dakota, said he expects to see an increase in grain sorghum acres due to failed wheat acres in the area. The new crop basis in this region was 75 cents over corn.

DELTA –  Across the delta region, producers have been experiencing excessive rainfall delaying planting. John Williams of southern Illinois, said there is a four or five day window in the forecast without rain. Some producers will start planting and everything should be planted by mid-May in his region. The market for October, November delivery is 50 cents over corn and it looks like there will be an increase in grain sorghum acres across the delta region.

MID-ATLANTIC – Planting has not yet begun in the Mid-Atlantic, but the soil temperature is warming up to 60 degrees in some regions. Soil moisture is high, and there has been steady rainfall across the area. In turn, producers are looking forward to starting planting in the coming weeks.

SOUTHEAST –  Excessive rainfall in the southeast has continued to delay planting. Regions across the southeast received up to four inches of rainfall last week, but the forecast calls for a window, allowing producers to resume planting. Carlton Bridgeforth of Tanner, Alabama, said his sorghum is approximately 50 percent planted, and he is enthusiastic about the coming months.

“Everything is in perfect shape and where it needs to be,” Bridgeforth said. “We just need some dry weather, and we will be in business.”