Before Growing Grain Sorghum, Have Selling Point Locked In

For a few months now, Murphy Brown LLC has been hosting meetings from the Piedmont to the coast for farmers interested in growing grain sorghum. Recently, Don Nicholson, regional agronomist for NC Department of Agriculture, based in Sanford hosted about 60 producers at Southeastern Grain Elevator in Bentonville. He says that the interest in grain sorghum has gone beyond a curiosity to serious inquiries:

“I think people are serious. I mean there are several driving points behind the interest in grain sorghum. One is the great need for local grain for the animal integrators like Murphy Brown, Prestige, Goldsboro Milling, and others, but those are the major players in my region.”

Nicholson says that in addition to fighting resistant palmer pigweed, there’s other pests that grain sorghum could help with as a rotation crop:

“It’s a very good rotation crop for a bunch of our growers that are growing peanuts, that kind of thing. It gives you two grass crops back to back, which is very good thing when you’re in a peanut rotation. We also have a tremendous problem in areas with soybean cyst nematode and grain sorghum seems to be a very good rotational crop to lessen the populations of that, and help increase our soybean yields if we keep soybeans in the rotation.”

Murphy Brown has said that they’d like to contract as many as 20,000 acres in the state this year, and Nicholson says that’s not necessarily a cap, but a starting point:

“No, I don’t think so. I think they want to get all the local grain that they can, and if they get more acres that’s a plus for them and any other integrator that’s interested in buying this grain.”

Nicholson says that he’s optimistic about the future of grain sorghum for the Carolinas:

“I’m hoping that we’ll have a successful year with this. Wasn’t expecting this much interest in it, just for the second or third year that it kind of got more broadly accepting. I am glad that it’s coming into the forefront, and we’ve got a market that’s maturing quickly, and we’ve got growers that are willing and able to grow this crop. So, hopefully this is going to be a successful venture for a lot of growers.”

Nicholson suggests that before a grower invests in growing grain sorghum that they be sure and have a selling point lined up. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.