Southeastern Producers Still Seeking Information on Grain Sorghum Production

After 70,000 acres of grain sorghum were planted in North Carolina in 2012, one wouldn’t think theres many producers out there that need or want information about the crop. But, based on the turnout at several informational meetings the past couple of months, Kent Messick, Chief Agronomist with North Carolina Department of Agriculture says interest among potential new growers is still very high:

“The attendance continues to be surprising at all of the informational meetings. The interest still seems to be there. There is more interest in growing the crop than we may be able to grow this year, because the seed availability will be limited due to the ongoing drought that impacted the traditional growing areas in the southwest US. There is still not enough seed available.”

Even with interest in grain sorghum high, Messick doesn’t see sorghum displacing corn acres:

“I don’t think that is very likely because if corn prices were not as encouraging as they are, I think most of the specialists are still saying that any areas that are good corn production fields, we would still recommend that they grow corn.”

It’s been a poorly kept secret that there will most likely be fewer cotton acres in the Carolinas this year, and Messick says he sees nothing to change those thoughts:

“Although 2012 was a good year for cotton yields, the price was not very encouraging and it continues to be very volatile because of the world market, particularly consumption overseas. It is still very volatile.”

And the same for peanuts:

“Peanut prices are down after an amazing year yield wise in 2012, across the southeast. There is a lot more available. Consumers are not pressed for shortage yet, so there will probably be a reduction in peanuts this year.”

Messick says as has become common practice the past few years, producers are likely to follow the money when making planting decisions:

“Most of the commodities, corn, soybeans, small gains and sorghum, those prices still are very encouraging so I expect them to be the primary focus in NC this year.”

NCDA’s Agronomy Chief Kent Messick. 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.