Sorghum Checkoff: USDA expects sorghum acres to increase

By Sorghum Checkoff | April 01, 2015

The USDA’s Prospective Plantings report released March 31 shows estimated sorghum planted acres will reach 7.9 million in 2015, up 11 percent from the 7.1 million the previous season.

“A surge in demand sent a message to growers signaling a need for increased acreage,” said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director, “and we are excited to see 2015 estimated acres showing modest gains.”

Kansas and Texas, the two largest grain sorghum-producing states, planted 2.85 million and 2.5 million acres in 2014, respectively, representing 75 percent of total U.S. sorghum production. Acres in these two regions are predicted to expand with Kansas acres increasing by 1.7 percent and Texas by 20 percent.

Acres are also predicted to expand in various other regions across the nation. States with sizeable increases include Missouri with a 135.3 percent increase, Illinois with a 73.9 percent increase, Arkansas with a 47 percent increase and Oklahoma with a 10.8 percent increase.

While this estimated increase in acres is positive, Lopez said the Sorghum Checkoff believes planted acres will be even higher than the initial USDA planting estimates due to a number of factors.

“One of the largest factors with potential to impact an even greater acreage increase is the incredible demand from the export market that has led to an overwhelming increase in relative pricing,” Lopez said.

David Fremark, Sorghum Checkoff board director and sorghum grower from St. Lawrence, South Dakota, said he plans to double his sorghum acres because it makes economic sense.

“It’s really quite simple, it’s economics 101,” Fremark said, “Milo has lower input costs, price is historically high, and it does better when moisture is limited, which is why I plan on increasing my sorghum acres to 7,000 this year.”

To read the full Prospective Plantings report, visit the USDA website.