Many farmers in the Carolinas are looking at opportunities to grow grain sorghum. Lindsay Kennedy, External Affairs Director, National Sorghum Producers explains that their checkoff program is very young, and one of the checkoff’s projects has been expanding grain sorghum’s acres:
“We’re on the third year of the organization being established, and we’ve really hit the ground running. We’ve got a lot of projects underway, and this project that we’re working on in North Carolina -- we're really excited about it because the state itself offers a lot of opportunities. Murphy-Brown offers a great market opportunity for North Carolina grain sorghum and with sorghum’s flexibility and the environment that they have there it provides a perfect market for that grain sorghum. So, we’re hoping to expand acreage there by as much as 500,000 acres so it would be a substantial difference.”
Half a million acres is quite a boost, and Kennedy says that it will be a long process expanding those acres in the southeast:
“I know things can’t happen over night, but, I think in the short term, the next five to ten years we’re hoping to see that boost. And right now we’re just working with producers, you know grain sorghum is kind of a new concept there, there is some acres there, but just working with them on production practices, nitrogen application, providing that information so that they can plant the sorghum and get going.”
Terry Swanson, National Sorghum Producers Chairman, and farmer from Southeastern Colorado has grown grain sorghum for many years, and says that he can easily see the crop doing well in the Carolinas:
“Because of its adaptability and the fact that its so drought tolerant, it’s a low-input crop, and it also grows in marginal soil conditions, and it’s got a lot of marketing possibilities, too. A third of our product goes to livestock feed, or feed consumption, a third goes for ethanol production, and then a third goes to exports. And in new markets, like those in the Carolinas, there’s a lot of those possibilities that could be exploited.”
As we reported recently, Murphy Brown is conducting variety trials and nutrition trials with grain sorghum and recently held a field day with plot tours in the south-central part of the state. Josh Gaddy, Agronomist with Murphy-Brown says the information presented on grain sorghum at the field day was well received:
“Right now we do have a lot of interest out there, which we’re excited about, and we’ll be getting more information out later on as we learn more ourselves.”
Murphy Brown is planning on hosting several informational meetings on grain sorghum throughout the winter months.
Read about the 2011 NC sorghum field trials...