US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, issued on August 13, shows US sorghum export sales for one week, at almost 32 million bushels sold, was an all-time record.
That one week of sales reflected around 9% of the total US sorghum production for this year, according to US soy grower body, National Sorghum Producers (NSP).
Data from the USDA showed the previous record week for US sorghum sales, at 23 million bushels, was in December 2014.
The NSP said the demand spike is driven by China’s livestock feed needs, and also by the fact that the crop coming out of Australia is short. Australia is one of the main competitors to the US on the sorghum market.
NSP and Sorghum Checkoff CEO, Tim Lust, told AgWeb that a lot of the sales were going to southern China, to the feed market there. From a price standpoint, the grain prices in China have continued to rise, and US sorghum is working very competitively into some of those southern China feed markets, he added.
Phase I of the trade agreement between the US and China could be playing a role as well.
Lust said US sorghum producers were making improvements to the crop “not only from a yield and technology standpoint, but also through quality measures, which are translating directly to international buyers.”
According to reports from the USDA, sorghum sales for the current market year totaled 282,386 mt along with 527,500 mt for the coming 2020-2021 marketing year. All totaled, sorghum sales for the week were 809,886 mt or about 32 million bushels.
Expanding sorghum export markets
“These sales commitments are profound, and like in any other high demand situation, we expect to see basis increases enhance sorghum acres next year,” said Sorghum Checkoff executive director, Florentino Lopez. “The US Grains Council and Sorghum Checkoff remain fully engaged with Chinese buyers to help promote US sorghum and provide technical information to leverage future sales while continuing to build future markets in Vietnam, Kenya, India and domestically, as well.”
Actual shipments to China were also at a seven-day period marketing-year high of 479,200 mt, according to USDA, and new crop sorghum sales are the highest they have been in five years.