Texas Sorghum Insider

February 18, 2014

2014 Farm Bill Informational Sessions – The Ag & Food Policy Center (AFPC), Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the Southwest Council of Agribusiness (SWCA) have teamed up to put together informational sessions about the 2014 Farm Bill to give those involved in agriculture industry insight on some of the changes they will expect. For more information and updates, visit www.southwest-council.com. Dates and locations for the upcoming meetings include:

  • March 3rd – El Campo
  • March 4th – Beaumont area
  • March 12th – Taylor
  • March 13th – Waco
  • March 14th – Commerce
  • March 18th – Stamford
  • March 19th – Lamesa
  • March 20th – Lubbock
  • March 21st – Amarillo
  • April 7th – Corpus Christi
  • April 8th – Weslaco

Aphids & Grain Sorghum – There has been various reports about the aphid pest on grain sorghum and the Sorghum Checkoff has recently released a fact sheet to better familiarize growers about this pest. Please view the fact sheet by clicking here. Some of the key facts the sheet pinpoints are that the sugarcane aphid was detected in 38 counties and parishes in 2013 with minimal infestation in south Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi, and one state in Mexico; the aphid was NOT detected in the South Plains or High Plains of Texas. It also noted that from a national perspective in 2013, the aphid did not significantly impact U.S. grain sorghum production, and it is still too early to know the potential impact of the aphid to grain sorghum in the upcoming crop season. Many regions where the aphid was located in 2013 have experienced below average and freezing temperatures helping to eliminate many damaging insects such as aphids. The fact sheet also provides products on treating aphids if they are detected on growers fields. A task force is currently working on the issue and the Sorghum Checkoff and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers have funded, and are developing research focused projects specifically for this pest. Again, please click here to view the complete fact sheet.

2013 Annual USCP Report – The Sorghum Checkoff has released its annual report for their 2013 fiscal year. Click here to view the full report. In summary, there were 8.1 million acres of grain sorghum planted in 2013 with 6.5 million acres harvested. 2.3 million acres were planted in Texas, the second highest state behind Kansas at 3.1 million acres. Fourteen states planted grain sorghum in 2013. There was a total of 389 million bushels produced across the nation. Texas Grain Sorghum Board (TGSB) received $730,516 in passback funds from USCP (25% of funding collected in Texas). The Sorghum Checkoff’s expenses totaled a little over $8 million and were allocated to state passbacks (1.6 M), research ($3.9 M), market development (1.3 M), communications ($634K), administration ($520K) and USDA oversight ($16K). Important facts include: there were 150 new genetic lines available by 2014; farmers averaged 8.5 yield (bu/ac) per one inch of water applied to sorghum; 31% of sorghum’s market share was in ethanol, 27% in livestock feeding, 2% in the food industry, and 40% in exports; 100 million bushels were estimated to be sold to China in 2013-14; 2.8 gallons of ethanol per bushel of sorghum was produced on average; $866 million was added to the industry by ethanol plants; there were 1,628 minutes of video footage recorded with 16,357 views of those videos on YouTube since 2011. Again, click here to view the full report.

TGSB Funded Projects for 2014 – This past December, the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board (TGSB) approved seven research projects and six marketing projects for the 2014 growing season. Approved research projects totaled $58,936 and projects included investigating the sugarcane aphid, no-till/con-till cropping sequences, dry land grain sorghum trials in the Panhandle, High Plains and South Plains regions, seeding rates in the Texas Blacklands, and investigations of grain & forage sorghum use in feedlot and dairy rations. Approved marketing projects totaled $67,190 and included projects for international marketing, extruded snacks from sorghum, effects of sorghum powder on fecal parasite egg shedding in goat kids, a Farm Bill decision aid tool, the master marketer program, and the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL) program. Various lead investigators were funded from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, Texas A&M University, Milo Insulation LLC, and the U.S. Grains Council.

TGSP Board Elections – The 2013 TGSB elections were canvassed on January 31st and the new board members will be seated at the TGSP board meetings in April. Troy Skarke of Claude was elected in the North District, Charles Ray Huddleston of Celina was elected in the Central District, and Dale Murden of Monte Alto, Chuck McDonald of Monte Alto and AJ Kresta of El Campo were elected in the South District. The elected board members will serve a six-year term and will join the other ten board members from across the state. TGSB consists of a total of fifteen producer board members from three districts; five from the North District, three from the Central District and seven from the South District. The number of board members from each district is based on data from past sorghum production.