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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 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.