Strong Interest and Production Opportunities for Grain Sorghum in 2013, But Growers Face Limited Seed Supplies

In 2012, growers across the Upper Southeast took a new look at an old crop … and many liked what they saw. Grain sorghum, also known as milo, has gained interest from farmers because it can deliver consistent yields on marginal, sandy soils, and under drier conditions on better soils. Sorghum also delivers a number of crop rotation benefits for farmers looking to break weed and pest cycles.

Grain sorghum acreage in 2012 increased to more than 70,000 acres, up from about 10,000 acres in 2011. Expectations are for acreage to increase again in 2013 as more growers see the benefit of the crop on their rotation and bottom line.

However, growers planning on planting grain sorghum in 2013 are encouraged to purchase sorghum seed as soon as possible. Seed inventory is in very short supply from most companies, and some brands are already reported to be in “sold out” status. A chart is available on that shows 2012 variety trial results, 2013 seed availability by company and distributor contact information to find out brand and hybrid availability in their areas.

We were very pleased with the results of 2012 grain sorghum production. Growers saw good yield results, especially in areas where corn production has typically struggled,” said Don Nicholson, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences regional agronomist. “We’re hoping for another solid increase in sorghum production for 2013, but limited seed supplies may limit those opportunities for growers.”

Murphy-Brown LLC introduced grain contracting opportunities for grain sorghum in 2012, and is expanding its program in 2013. Increased grain sorghum production offers a new crop option for growers, and increases the amount of feed that Murphy Brown can source locally for livestock production, said Robbie Montgomery, Murphy Brown grain procurement manager.

Murphy-Brown has established eight delivery points at elevators and feed mills. Growers interested in sorghum production should visit the company's web site at or contact Robbie Montgomery at 910-282-4213 or

In its 2013 grain sorghum contracting program, Murphy-Brown will pay 95 percent of harvest cash price of corn for sorghum delivered to select delivery points. Pricing can be locked in anytime during CBOT trading hours prior to December 1, 2013. A signed contract committing to deliver a set number of bushels to a specific delivery point is required.

Sorghum will be contracted for delivery at eight locations, including SGC Elevators in Bentonville, LaGrange, Bladenboro, Clinton, and Mount Olive, the Murphy-Brown Elevator in Nichols (SC), and Murphy-Brown Feed Mills in Laurinberg and Waverly (VA).

Murphy-Brown has established a tri-state feed grain initiative that includes partners including North Carolina State University, Clemson University, Virginia Tech University, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the North Carolina Pork Council and North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, among others. The initiative is focused on establishing best management practices for sorghum production and improving wheat yields and production.

Sorghum production information is available from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program at, the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Agronomic Division, and North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association. Growers are also sharing their own production practices and experiences to improve production for the 2013 growing season.

Courtesy Murphy-Brown LLC 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.