Texas Sorghum Insider

June 17, 2014

Changes to NSP Yield Contest – Every year growers across the sorghum belt apply to have the top producing yield in different categories in National Sorghum Producer’s Yield Contest; however, this year NSP has made some significant changes to the contest. NSP has set a new yield goal of 250 bushels per acre or more to illustrate sorghum’s yield potential, and all division placings will be determined by yield only. To reach this new benchmark, NSP is offering incentives with support from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) to award growers who reach this bin buster. Contestants successfully participating in this category will receive a three-year truck lease (Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, or Toyota) for first place, an all-terrain vehicle for second place, and a riding lawn mower for third place. With the new provisions, there are many new rule changes that growers should be aware of, and NSP is asking entrants to pay close attention to this years contest rules. Click here to learn more, and be sure to read their extended version of the yield contest rule changes. All winners are recognized each year at an awards banquet in conjunction with Commodity Classic, to be held next year in Phoenix, Arizona, in the Sorghum Grower magazine, and online.

BioEnergy Sorghum Could Help Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Texas A&M AgriLife recently released information from a study finding that bioenergy sorghum may offer more than another energy supply; it may offer a “sink” for greenhouse gases. Researchers at the University have been measuring greenhouse gases from biofuel production scenarios to help quantify the carbon footprint of a bioenergy cropping system and evaluate compliance with federally mandated reduction goals. The researchers conducting the study found that bioenergy sorghum may play a significant role in future biofuel production as a high quality biomass feedstock. The life cycle analyses from the crop are used to evaluate biofuel efficiency by balancing the direct and indirect greenhouse gases associated with production with the total energy output and soil carbon storage. The study has been in motion since 2008 at a field near College Station. To read AgriLife’s full story, click here.

China Sorghum Imports Expected to Continue to Rise – Bloomberg News released a report that China’s imports of coarse grain may climb to a record 3.5 million metric tons in the 12 months beginning Oct. 1, compared to a projected 3 million tons in the current period. Those numbers are taken from a median of five estimates from traders and analysts. China is the world’s largest producer, and have been cueing record amounts of sorghum after the government curbed U.S. corn imports. AccordingSorghum was traditionally used to make baijui liquor such as Moutai in China, and now the Chinese are using it to fatten ducks and hogs. Authorities in China rejected cargoes of up to 1.2 million tons of U.S. corn containing an unapproved genetically modified variety in April and since then, U.S. corn shipments to China went to the lowest level in seven months. Sorghum is a non-genetically modified crop and isn’t subject to import quota restorations in China. According to a Bloomberg survey, no sorghum was bought from China in 2012, but China may now purchase three quarters of U.S. sorghum exports this year. Next week, TGSB is hosting a crop tour across the state for international participants, and eight of them will be coming from China to learn more about this year’s sorghum crop.

CRP Sign-Ups – Beginning on June 9, 2014, landowners could begin to sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), one of the largest voluntary conservation programs in the country. The CRP provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. CRP consists of a “continuous” and “general” sign-up period. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. For general sign-ups, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill’s requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.