Quality Matters as U.S. Sorghum Harvest Makes Strides Forward

With sorghum harvest well underway, farmers are taking steps to ensure quality for customers here at home and around the world.

Already 61 percent of U.S. sorghum has been harvested with more than 90 percent of the crop rated as mature in the 11 states that planted 98 percent of the 2014 sorghum acreage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) crop progress report issued on Oct. 19.

Harvesting and maintaining this high-quality crop will be important this year as U.S. sorghum buyers around the globe continue to demand a high-quality product.

“With 75 percent of this year’s U.S. sorghum crop likely to be exported, international demand for the coarse grain is gaining importance in the sorghum industry,” said Alan Tiemann, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman and a farmer in Nebraska.

“The entire U.S. sorghum value-chain has to work diligently towards providing these key buyers with the high quality they demand.”

Three vital things U.S. farmers should keep in mind as they harvest their sorghum are:

  • limit foreign matter;
  • adjust equipment prior to harvesting to ensure the best possible grain makes it into the bin; and
  • harvest sorghum at 14 percent moisture or lower for optimal storing capacity.

While the Council has been involved in China for more than 30 years, in 2011, USGC staff in conjunction with the Sorghum Checkoff completed an assessment of China’s demand for U.S. sorghum. Since then the two organizations have been working together to stimulate this demand to new levels. Last marketing year, China was by far the biggest export customer for U.S. sorghum farmers, buying 98 percent of all U.S. sorghum exports in the marketing year that ran from Sept. 1, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2015.

China and other overseas customers are demanding high-quality sorghum and meeting this demand is an extremely important step toward maintaining this vital market.

“Farmers across the United States have responded to the need for more coarse grains worldwide,” said Dale Murden, Sorghum Checkoff chairman and Texas sorghum farmer.

“Sorghum exports are playing a pivotal role in our industry’s market share, and it’s important we continue to stand ready to supply a high-quality product to our overseas and neighboring customers.”

Additional information for farmers is available at http://sorghumcheckoff.com/harvest-quality-grain-sorghum-this-season/.

More about the Sorghum Checkoff is at http://sorghumcheckoff.com/ and more from the Council is at www.grains.org.