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Soybean Prices May Take Grain Sorghum Acres

The high price of soybeans on the futures market these days might take some acres intended for grain sorghum this year back to beans according to Josh Gaddy, Chief Agronomist with Murphy-Brown:

“We’re definitely wanting to contract and buy all the sorghum we can. But, with the price of soybeans right now, it’s incenting farmers I guess to plant more beans, and we’re thinking that it’s going to pull some of the acres that were planning to go to sorghum back to soybeans.

But, we’re thinking that with the agronomic challenges in our area like nematodes and pigweed that sorghum does a good job addressing, so we’re thinking that acres with those problems will still go to sorghum. But, I think we’ll have less acres than what we were initially thinking we’d have this year because of the high price of beans. That’s okay, we’re just trying to provide a market for this, and hope it’s a viable crop here from now on. We know that there’s going to be years where corn’s higher so, it’ll make sorghum look better.”

Wheat harvest is still a few weeks away, and as was originally thought, Gaddy still anticipates many sorghum acres to go in behind wheat:

“I think a lot of people that are interested in sorghum were going to put it behind wheat, a lot of that hasn’t been planted…those acres haven’t gone in yet. We won’t know for a while exactly how many acres we’re going to have. I’d say a good bit of the crop was going to be double-cropped, anyway.”

As far as Murphy-Brown’s commitment to sorghum production in the Carolina’s, Gaddy explains that commitment is as strong as ever:

“Our company has helped fund some research at NC State and NCDA, too look at population and weed control issues, and fungicide issues and fertility work. NC DA is doing a lot of fertility work, we’re helping fund that. Now, on our own farms, we’re planting some different varieties, and some fungicide trials, and that kind of thing. We won’t do anything as in depth as the university and all, but we’ll probably find out a few things on our own farms. But, we’re funding research at the university and the NCDA, or helping fund it, anyway.”

As far as Murphy-Brown’s own test plots, Gaddy says they’ve expanded this the acreage this year:

“We’re going to have about 1,500 acres, we had about 500 last year, a littlie over, we’re planning on 1,500 this year. Putting it primarily on marginal soils, where we have a lot of pigweed pressure, nematode numbers are high, deer pressure, where we have those problems, we’re putting sorghum there to address that. We sort of initially planned on planting that many acres and we’ve stuck with that because we had those problems on those farms, and it’s hard to make a yield of soybeans with those challenges.”

Gaddy started planting the Murphy-Brown fields this week, and sorghum will continue to go in until mid-June:

Josh Gaddy, chief agronomist for Murphy-Brown 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.