Report Outlines Cost Analysis of Grain Sorghum versus Soybeans as a Double Crop

Nick Piggot, with NC State University’s, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics recently published a paper showing the economics of double-cropping grain sorghum versus soybeans behind wheat:

“I did an economic analysis looking at current market conditions specifically the prices on the board – soybean prices and corn prices. We use corn prices because currently sorghum is usually priced as 95% of the corn price. It turns out the relative prices of soybeans vs corn and the differences in yield between double-cropped soybeans and double-cropped sorghum, means that the economic advantage of double-cropping grain sorghum behind wheat comes out at about $88 per acre.”

And Piggot points out that input costs for grain sorghum are less than that of beans:

“A very important point is that producers also stand to lose less money, and its less risky to grow grain sorghum, because it costs about $40 an acre less to plant and raise that crop.”

NCDA’s Agronomy department has grown several experimental grain sorghum plots using chicken litter as a nitrogen source. Piggot explains this adds to the bottom line even further:

“Nitrogen in the grain sorghum budget, if you just apply it, runs about $95 per acre. If you use chicken litter you can reduce that cost down significantly- that all comes back to your bottom line. That $88 per acre cost above, could be increased up to another $90 per acre.”

Currently, North Carolina imports approximately two-thirds of the grain needs of the livestock industry. Piggot says grain sorghum reduces that deficit:

“Advocating the double-cropping of grain sorghum vs soybeans, especially when its economically more advantageous for the grower, there is also a secondary economic benefit in that we are supplying more feed grains locally to the livestock industry. That is currently running about a 200 million bushel deficit – we wont fill that entire deficit, but every little bit helps. If we can have success in growing grain sorghum and increasing the yield, then we can put a dent in the deficit. It’s a win-win for NC agriculture, not only the row farmers but also the livestock industry.”

To read Nick Piggots report on cost analysis of grain sorghum versus soybeans, click here


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