Texas Sorghum Insider

December 19, 2016

Sugarcane Aphid and Grazing Grain Sorghum Stalks—In the sorghum belt following grain harvest, some growers will elect to graze their sorghum stalks during the early fall and winter. Sugarcane aphids, if not properly controlled, can cause severe injury to the sorghum plant. Many have asked how much this injury reduces the feeding value of sorghum stover. In 2016, entomologists Pat Porter, Blayne Reed and Katelyn Kowles at Texas AgriLilfe were able to conduct trials to examine the quality of sorghum stover that had suffered different levels of injury from the sugarcane aphid. By controlling aphids with insecticides at different infestation levels, the entomologists were able to create different levels of crop injury. Crop injury ranged from very little to severe plant damage caused by the sugarcane aphid. Crop injury was rated using a scale of zero to ten, with ten representing 91 to 100 percent leaf area damage or dead plants. Following grain harvest, stover was sent to Servi-Tech labs for quality analysis. A more detailed description of how the trials were conducted, as well as various graphs of the nutrient analysis, was reported in Texas Sugarcane Aphid News on Dec. 9th.

Results and Interpretation:

Not surprisingly, the quality of the stover did decrease with increased plant damage caused by the sugarcane aphid (see attached TDN graph). However, the drop in quality was not as much as one might have expected. Percent acid detergent fiber (ADF) increased from approximately 29 to 37.5 percent, total digestible nutrients (TDN) decreased from 68.5 to 60 percent and digestible energy decreased from 1.4 to 1.21 Mcal/lb dry forage. There was a trend for crude protein to decrease but the correlation with plant injury was poor. It is important to note that even though the sugarcane aphid did reduce the quality of the sorghum stover, the overall quality remained good. Even at the highest plant damage rating, the stover quality was comparable to most sorghum hay. For comparison, the average percent ADF was 34.8 and TDN was 65.9 in a forage sorghum hay trial conducted by Texas AgriLife near Amarillo, TX, in 2010 (Texas AgriLife Variety Testing). In reviewing the data with Dr. Ted McCollum, Texas AgriLife beef cattle nutritionist, he said that forage with a TDN value of 60 or greater is more than adequate for beef cows in late gestation and early lactation. For stocker cattle, Dr. McCollum indicated that a TDN value of 60 will project to a daily gain of about 1.4 lb/day gain while a 67 percent TDN will project over 2 lb/day gain. He also stated that protein supplement is necessary when grazing sorghum stover regardless of any sugarcane aphid damage. There has also been concern that the sooty mold that often grows on the dried sorghum leaves that were infested by sugarcane aphids might be toxic to cattle.  Initial testing of the mold by Kansas State (personal communication) has shown this to be a common non-toxic mold. Please contact Brent Bean at brentb@sorghumcheckoff.com with any comments or questions.

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Indemnity Fund Update—Texas Department of Ag has delayed ballot counting for the indemnity fund vote until Wednesday, Dec. 23. Some of the ballot boxes had not been received as of Friday.

Shareowners Approve Monsanto Merger with Bayer—Monsanto shareholders approved the merger with Bayer CropScience during a special meeting on Dec. 13, 2016. Under the agreement, at the closing of the merger currently expected by the end of 2017, Monsanto shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash. To read more on the merger, click here.

Export Report—Sorghum continued strong sales last week with a total of 10.2 million bushels. China led the export commitments with 8.2 million bushels. These sales bring total commitments for the current marketing year to 114.73 million bushels.

December 2, 2016

Grain Indemnity Fund Vote Approaching—A referendum on the statewide establishment of a grain indemnity fund held by the Texas Grain Producers Indemnity Board will take place Dec. 5 through Dec. 9. Anyone who has produced corn, sorghum, soybeans or wheat within the last 36 months is eligible to vote. Ballots are available at all Texas A&M AgriLife Extension county offices during regular business hours. Additional information about the Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Fund can be found on their website, www.texasgrainindemnity.org/. 

Export Exchange Results in $460 Million in Grain and Co-Product Sales—The Export Exchange conference hosted this fall by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is already paying dividends, according to new surveys of overseas grain buyers who attended – to the tune of nearly a half billion dollars’ worth of grain and ethanol co-product sales. Buyers and end-users were asked after the conference if they made purchase agreements with sellers and how much volume was purchased. In total, attendees reported sales of approximately 2.6 million metric tons of grains and co-products worth $460 million traded either at the conference or immediately before or after. The top grain traded during the two-day conference was corn, with 924,500 metric tons collectively exchanged, followed by distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), with 875,000 metric tons exchanged. This means buyers at the conference struck deals to purchase an amount of DDGS equivalent to roughly 8 percent of last year’s total U.S. DDGS exports. According to the survey, 428,000 metric tons of sorghum was also traded during the event. Export Exchange 2016 offered attendees a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries were in Detroit for the conference, held Oct. 24 to 26, and for related tours of U.S. farms, ethanol plans and export infrastructure as part of Council trade teams.

Market Perspectives—SorghumNet sales of 227,000 MT were down 22 percent from the previous week and 34 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were reported for China (162,500 MT, including 56,000 MT switched from unknown destinations) and unknown destinations (64,500 MT). Exports of 59,200 MT were down 48 percent from the previous week and 6 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were China (56,500 MT), Nigeria (1,800 MT), and Mexico (900 MT). screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-3-08-07-pm

Attend Commodity Classic—Registration and housing for the 2017 Commodity Classic will open Wednesday, Dec. 7 at commodityclassic.com. Participants can log on to register at 10 a.m. The 2017 Commodity Classic will be March 2-4, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas.

November 11, 2016

BIP Grant – $17 million Biofuels Infrastructure Program (BIP) Grant quietly goes into place. The program, designed to place over 700, E15 blender pumps into Texas fueling stations is quietly nearing completion. A total of 160 stations will have 41 dedicated E85 dispensers, 654 blender dispensers and 49 underground tanks. 654 blender dipsensers are “E15 pumps” as opposed to the standard E10 pumps. “We are very excited about being able to leverage producer checkoff funds with this grant in order to increase usage of Texas produced ethanol”, said Wayne Cleveland, Executive Director of Texas Grain Sorghum Producers. The grant is being administered through TDA and has various project partners that will spend over $12 million in their own funds to build infrastructure for ethanol. A majority of the pumps will be located in Metropolitan areas with a few going into place in Plainview and Lubbock. TGSP is currently working with all groups to help market and brand those pumps.

TGSA Holds Southern Regional Meeting — Last week, TGSA’s newly formed delegate body held the first meeting of one of its three regions – North, Central, and South. The body met in Corpus Christi for an evening of discussion about agriculture policies and the state of the sorghum market. Highlights of the discussion include:

• Marc Adams from CoBank walking members through the ripple effects of grain lien legislation that passed the Texas Legislature in 2015
• Patrick Wade laying out TGSA’s policy agenda heading into the 2017 Texas Legislature. The delegate body’s legislative committee decided to commit to defending water rights, individual property rights, fair transportation policy, and the ethanol industry.
• Tim Lust discussed where Washington DC currently stands in regard to the 2018 Farm Bill and what can be expected moving forward
• Wayne Cleveland relayed the newest marketing statistics
Following the meeting, delegate body members from the region will submit votes to nominate someone to TGSA’s board of directors. Each region will nominate one member to the board each year for three years, until the board is entirely comprised of delegate body members. We are excited about the future of our association and look forward to seeing the North region members in Amarillo at the end of the month.

Strong Exports Continue — Demand from the export market reached historic levels for the week ending Nov. 3, with 16 million bushels of sorghum sold since Oct. 26, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service’s report. The sales represented one of the highest recorded export sales of sorghum in one week. The trend continued into this week as another round of historically strong export commitments were posted, China lead Japan and Mexico in purchasing 13.8 million bushels. These sales bring total commitments for the year to 71.3 million bushels or 28.5 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s export target for the marketing year. Shipments were also strong with China, Japan and Mexico taking delivery of 3.5 million bushels, bringing total shipments for the year to 49.1 million bushels.

Advanta Seeds Partners with Texas A&M AgriLife — Advanta Seeds and Texas A&M AgriLife Research formed a partnership focusing on seed technology research and development for a variety of crops, including sorghum. Texas A&M will house a new bioetch research center that both organizations will utilize. The partnership’s goal is to provide higher yielding hybrids that are stable across seasons in order to help farmers meet global food supply and sustainability challenges.

October 28, 2016

Property Rights Organization Launched—Earlier this week, Texans for Property Rights (TPR) announced its formation. TPR is a coalition of state agriculture organizations dedicated to protecting landowners’ property rights. TGSA was proud to sign its name onto the coalition and we look forward to working in Austin and around the state to advance its cause. We encourage you to visit www.TexansforPropertyRights.com and share your story to help defend all landowners’ rights.

New Program Offered at Annual Amarillo Farm Show—The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be offering something a little different at this year’s Panhandle Farm and Ranch Management Symposium during the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show, Nov. 29-Dec. 1.

“We are calling the program RRAD as it emphasizes Researched, Relevant information provided by AgriLife and encourages Discussion and interaction,” said Danny Nusser, AgriLife Extension regional program leader in Amarillo.

The RRAD program will be in the Grand Plaza of the Amarillo Civic Center, 401 S. Buchanan St. in Amarillo. It will follow the annual Amarillo Chamber of Commerce luncheon, and conclude around 5 p.m.

“This program is designed to allow producers an opportunity to gain research-based, relevant knowledge on topics important to them,” Nusser said. “In addition, we will focus on allowing producers time to interact and share experiences related to these topics and get questions answered.”

Producers will have a choice of six sessions they can attend. Each session will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. At the conclusion of each session, producers can move to a different location and topic.

“This presentation approach allows producers to attend the sessions of interest and come and go as they please,” he said. “We felt like this new approach could meet individual needs for information and time. It also allows producers to contribute to the discussion about their experiences and opinions related to each topic.”

There will be the potential for up to three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units in the areas of laws and regulations, integrated pest management and general.  The CEU’s will only be offered for those topics focusing on issues related to pesticides.

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Market Perspectives– SorghumNet sales of 300 MT for 2016/2017 resulted as increases for China (57,500 MT, including 58,000 MT switched from unknown destinations and decreases of 500 MT) and South Korea (800 MT), were partially offset by reductions for unknown destinations (58,000 MT). Exports of 61,800 MT were reported to China (57,500 MT) and Mexico (4,300 MT). To read the entire Market Perspectives, provided by the US Grains Council, click here.

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October 14, 2016

On the Road Again – On Wednesday, September 28 the Texas House Committee on Transportation held an interim hearing to discuss ongoing concerns with cargo weight limits and truck axle regulations. Present Texas Transportation code prevents any vehicle from operating on a public highway or port-of-entry to Mexico if it has:
1) A single axle weight over 20,000 lbs
2) A tandem axle weight over 34,000 lbs
3) An overall gross weight over 80,000 lbs
The committee heard testimony advising for and against raising those limit. Business and manufacturing trade association representatives, citing their industries’ projected production growth, proposed increasing the above weight limits. Trucking industry representatives, however, expressed concerns about the safety of heavier loads, which would have less stable centers of gravity and greater potential for damage in the case of a crash. The trucking industry said they would not support any weight increases without mandating six axles for those loads. it was brought to the committee’s attention that Texas is in fact the only state that doesn’t allow six-axle trucks to enter ports. Even adding extra axles, though, is accompanied by concerns for truckers’ safety in situations involving inclement weather. The financial burden for repairing the stress to roads that would result from these increased loads was not a central issue of discussion in this hearing, but it continues to be a significant obstacle to advancing any legislation on the issue.

Texas Water Hearing – On October 13, the Texas House Agriculture & Livestock Committee and Natural Resources Committee held a joint hearing to discuss “the sources of water used by Texans in the production of food and fiber, and examine the current water delivery methods and water conservation goals for agricultural use.” The committee heard testimonies from representatives of commodity organizations and water conservation groups.
The committees made it clear that they appreciate the conservation efforts that producers undertake to ensure future generations of Texans have access to water. The testimonies were primarily concerned with addressing the efficiency of existing delivery methods and evaluating the best avenues for government to assist in improving that efficiency.
Although existing water delivery methods already achieve high levels of efficiency – often losing less than 10 percent of water in most systems – the committees and testimonies agreed that there is always room for improvement. For instance, due to exorbitant costs, not all producers are able to purchase the most effective, high-tech water conservation equipment on the market. Kody Bessent, of Plains Cotton Growers, emphasized the importance of cost-sharing government programs when it comes to expanding access to these technologies.
The discussion was focused on agricultural water use, but Rep. Lyle Larson (R – San Antonio) remarked that urban areas such as his district ought to do a better job learning from the conservation efforts in rural Texas. With water looming as a contentious issue in the upcoming 85th Legislative Session, Texas Grain Sorghum Association remains committed to protecting your rights to the most valuable resource we have.

Latin America Trade Team Coming to Texas – A team of 11 sorghum buyers and end users from Colombia and Peru will be in Texas October 19-21 to network with U.S. suppliers and to learn more about the state and national sorghum industry. The visit is hosted by USGC, USCP and TGSB. The team will arrive in the Houston area on October 19th and attend a mini sorghum seminar, tour two port facilities and then will make its way up to Fort Worth stopping at a sorghum farm en route. In Fort Worth, the team will tour and visit with three major sorghum supplier companies. The team will then depart for Detroit, Michigan to attend the U.S. Grains Council 2016 Export Exchange.

Texas Sorghum 2017 RFP – The Texas Grain Sorghum Board (TGSB) has released its 2017 Request for Proposals. Proposals are due by email to morgan@texassorghum.org on or before November 9, 2016. Proposals will be ranked and approved at the winter board meeting of TGSB to be held at the end of November in Amarillo. The board is concentrating on 12 priority areas, with the first prioirty focusing on sugarcane aphid resistant varieties in particular regions, and the promotion of those varieties to growers. If your proposal is chosen, the producer board would like all final reports to include an index size card that has an overall summary of the results found so that those may be copied and handed out to growers. To receive TGSB’s 2017 RFP document, please email morgan@texassorghum.org.

September 2, 2016

Understanding Your Property Rights—As any landowner will tell you, the threat of being legally liable for someone else’s actions on their property – whether the person was invited or trespassing – often weighs on their mind. Eighty percent of Texas land is privately owned, meaning it’s important for everyone to understand their property rights. Take, for instance, the recent Texas Supreme Court case Boerjan v Rodriguez. In it, a “coyote” (a specific kind of transportation for illegal immigrants) was illegally trespassing across a private ranch in South Texas when they were stopped by a ranch employee. The coyote fled, the employee and crashed his car in the process, resulting in the death of the family of immigrants being transported. Other family members of the immigrants filed suit against the ranch for wrongful death, claiming the landowners were culpable for the crash and deaths. Fortunately, a trial court provided summary judgment in favor of the landowners, a decision that was further affirmed by the Texas Supreme Court. The fact that this ended as a cut-and-dry decision did not however, prevent the defendants from spending countless hours in legal preparation and trial proceedings. As such, here is a reminder about the three classes of persons who may enter your property and your duties owed to them:

  1. Trespasser – In the decision in Boerjan, the Court confirmed that “the only duty the premises owner owes a trespasser is not to injure him willfully, wantonly, or through gross negligence.” Simple negligence cannot be captured in the situation of a trespasser, making this the most limited duty a landowner owes to a third-party.
  2. Licensee – Licensee refers to a third-party allowed to enter your property when the general public may not be. Examples of this class include emergency responders or state inspectors. Landowners must make a licensee aware of (or remedy) dangerous conditions the licensee would be naturally unaware of. In addition, the landowner cannot intentionally injure the licensee. The duty owed to a licensee is broader than the duty owed to a trespasser.
  3. Invitee – An invitee refers to a person who enters the property for mutual benefit with the landowner. A friend, coworker, or anyone you provide with express permission to enter your private property is considered an invitee. This class commands the widest liability. All the responsibilities owed to a licensee (no intentional injury, make aware of dangerous conditions) are included, but it is taken one step further. The landowner must also make an invitee aware of (or remedy) a dangerous condition that they could have known about with a reasonable inspection of their property.

USDA Releases First 2017 Ag Export Forecast— China will surpass Canada as the top destination for U.S. agricultural exports in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first forecast for next year’s export totals. USDA projected total U.S. agricultural exports at $133 billion for fiscal year 2017, the sixth highest ever and up $6 billion from the last forecast. USDA lowered sorghum exports by $600 million for 2017, based on expectations of reduced demand from China, even as robust sales and shipments of sorghum continue to push volumes of sorghum exports higher than USDA projections in fiscal year 2016.

Market Perspectives– SorghumNet sales of 9,500 MT for 2015/2016 resulted as increases for China (64,200 MT, including 55,000 MT switched from unknown destinations), Indonesia (200 MT), and South Korea (100 MT), were partially offset by reductions for unknown destinations (55,000 MT). For 2016/2017, net sales of 68,000 MT were reported for unknown destinations (58,000 MT) and Japan (10,000 MT). Exports of 145,100 MT were up noticeably from the previous week and 33 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were China (143,200 MT), Mexico (1,400 MT), Indonesia (400 MT), and South Korea (200 MT). To read the entire Market Perspectives, provided by the US Grains Council, click here.

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Comment Today on Need for Atrazine, Propazine—Atrazine and propazine are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite science-based regulations demonstrating the safety of these chemicals for more than 50 years, the EPA’s hyperactive regulatory machine threatens to render these important crop protection tools useless in controlling weeds on 90 percent of the acres in the U.S. Weigh in on how EPA’s draft Ecological Risk Assessments put farmers at an economic disadvantage and submit your own comments before October 4, 2016, at http://sorghumgrowers.com/sorghumalert.

August 16, 2016

Comment Today on Need for Atrazine, Propazine—Atrazine and propazine are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite science-based regulations demonstrating the safety of these chemicals for more than 50 years, the EPA’s hyperactive regulatory machine threatens to render these important crop protection tools useless in controlling weeds on 90 percent of the acres in the U.S. Weigh in on how EPA’s draft Ecological Risk Assessments put farmers at an economic disadvantage and submit your own comments before October 4, 2016, at http://sorghumgrowers.com/sorghumalert.

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Agricultural Loan Guarantee Program—Open enrollment is currently underway for the ALG Program. The program provides financial assistance to establish or enhance farming or ranching operations or to establish an agricultural-related business. Assistance is available in the form of guarantees based on a tiered structure, not to exceed $750,000 or 70% of the loan amount—whichever is less.

There are three options depending on the terms of the loan:

  • $250,000 or 90% of the loan amount, whichever is less
  • $500,000 or 80% of the loan amount, whichever is less
  • $750,000 or 70% of the loan amount, whichever is less

Young Farmer Grant (YFG) Program: TAFA offers a semiannual grant program to eligible applicants who are at least 18 years of age but younger than 46 years of age and who are engaged in creating or expanding agriculture in Texas. The applicant must be able to make dollar-for-dollar matching expenditures to sustain, create or expand the proposed project. Individual grants may range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Interest Rate Reduction (IRR) Program: TAFA works with the Texas Comptroller to facilitate lending at below market rates to qualified applicants for projects that will establish, enhance or expand an agricultural operation in Texas.

Young Farmer Interest Rate Reduction (YFIRR) Program: Young farmers can see greater reductions in their interest costs through this program. Any person who is at least 18 years of age but younger than 46 years of age and proposes to use loan proceeds in a manner that will help accomplish the state’s goal of fostering the creation and expansion of an agricultural business in Texas is eligible.

For additional information including program specific details click here. For questions contact TDA’s Grants Office at 512-463-6908 or by email at Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov.

2016 NASS Cash Rent Statistics Released—The 2016 NASS results of their Cash Rent surveys have been released. The results are obtained by a survey of farmers conducted by the United States Department of Agricultural National Agricultural Statistics Service. Every year, NASS collects cash rent data by state for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pastureland.  In even numbered years, they break this data down by county.  The county-level reports should be out in September.  For now, we have the national and state-by-state results. Nationwide, cash rental rates have dropped in the last year.  Here are the results of the cash rent survey:

  • Pastureland: $13/acre (down $1.00 from 2015)
  • Non-irrigated cropland: $125/acre (down $8.00 from 2015)
  • Irrigated cropland: $206/acre (down $3.00 from 2015)

For Texas, the results were mixed with an increase in irrigated cropland rates, but decreases for dryland cropland and pasture.  The survey results are as follows:

  • Pastureland:  $6.80/acre (down $0.70 from 2015)
  • Non-irrigated cropland:  $27.00 (down $2.00 from 2015)
  • Irrigated cropland:  $90.00 (up $8.00 from 2015)

In order to view the average lease rates for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pastureland in each of the 50 states, click here. If you are interested in more information on leasing, join Shannon Ferrell and Tiffany Dowell Lashmet on Wednesday (Aug. 17), at 11 central time for our free webinar on Agricultural Leases. For more information on the webinar, click here. The post 2016 NASS Cash Rent Statistics Released appeared first on Texas Agriculture Law.

TGSP Approves SCA Insecticide Decision Aid Research Study— Development of a Decision Aid for Control of the Sugarcane Aphid in Grain Sorghum after the Initial Insecticide Application; Co-Investigators: Pat Porter, Blayne Reed, Kerry Siders, Tommy Doederlein, and Katelyn Kowles. Collaborator: Ed Bynum. (Extension Entomologist, Extension Agent—IPM.)—Until sugarcane aphid resistant hybrids become available it is likely that much of the sorghum acreage on the High Plains will exceed the economic threshold and require at least a first insecticide application. However, there is no clear economic threshold for deciding to make a second, follow-up insecticide application and growers are faced with the possibility of applying insecticides that are not needed or not applying insecticides that are needed. Through this study a decision guide will be developed, allowing producers to quickly determine when to apply second and subsequent insecticide applications. The plant damage to yield loss relationships documented through this work will also assist in getting Section 18 emergency use registrations for new insecticides. On-farm trials will be conducted in Hockley/Cochran/Lamb (Kerry Siders) and Dawson/Lynn (Tommy Doederlein) counties. The same experimental design will be used in all on-farm trials. Pat Porter and Katelyn Kowles will travel to Dawson/Lynn counties to help collect data. An expanded trial at the Lubbock Research and Extension Center will follow the same protocol but will be conducted on sugarcane aphid susceptible sorghum (DK36-06) and sugarcane aphid resistant sorghum (DK37-07) in order to determine whether resistant sorghum has a different yield to leaf damage rating relationship than does susceptible sorghum. Blayne Reed and his field scouts will travel to Lubbock to help collect data.

Market Perspectives–Sorghum: Net sales of 60,400 MT for 2015/2016 were reported for China (49,600 MT, switched from unknown destinations), unknown destinations (8,000 MT), Colombia (2,500 MT), and Mexico (400 MT). For 2016/2017, net sales of 55,500 MT were reported for unknown destinations. Exports of 241,400 MT were up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were China (213,000 MT), Colombia (27,500 MT), and Mexico (1,000 MT). To read the entire Market Perspectives, provided by the US Grains Council, click here.
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July 25, 2016

Lesser Prairie Chicken Removed from Endangered Species List –The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed the lesser prairie chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in a final rule published on Wednesday, July 20. The action follows a court order ruling that vacated the species’ listing under the Endangered Species Act. While the delisting is a short-term victory for landowners, the action from the agency does not constitute a biological determination on whether the bird warrants federal protection. As a result, the agency announced it will undertake a re-evaluation of the bird’s status relative to a five-state conservation program to determine whether ESA listing is still necessary.

In the coming weeks we will take a closer look at research projects approved for funding by the TGSP board of directors. These projects are currently taking place and final results should be available by January 2017. If you have further questions regarding studies, please reach out to Katelyn Luckett, katelyn@texassorghum.org.

TGSP Approves BMP/Yield Research Study—Demonstrating Grain Sorghum Potential in Texas: Using Best Management Practices to Maximize Yield and Economic Return; Principal Investigator: Ronnie Schnell—Grain sorghum yields overall in Texas have not increased much since the 1970’s. Yet, statewide data does not accurately describe sorghum potential in Texas. Using actual yield measurements from AgriLife trials, yield trends have not been equal across the state. Large yield increases (1.6 bu/acre/yr) have been observed in the High Plains region under irrigation while other regions have had little if any increase in yield. National Sorghum Yield Contest and other yield reports from regions with lower yield trends suggest that much greater yield potential does exist. Greater than 200 bu/acre was obtained in central Texas during 2014 while many growers are content with less than 100 bu/acre. This study will use demonstration/ research plots within major sorghum production regions of Texas to compare current and common farmer practices to high input production systems with corresponding higher yield goals. The goal is to determine the true genetic and environmental limits to grain sorghum by production region. Yield potential and associated inputs will be weighed against economic return to optimize yield goals and recommendations.

Market PerspectivesSorghum: Net sales of 53,500 MT for 2015/2016 were up 25 percent from the previous week, but down 39 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were reported for China (28,000 MT), Colombia (25,000 MT), and Indonesia (500 MT). Exports of 2,500 MT were down 98 percent from the previous week and 96 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destination was Mexico. To read the entire Market Perspectives, provided by the US Grains Council, click here.

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Comment Today on Need for Atrazine, Propazine—Atrazine and propazine are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite science-based regulations demonstrating the safety of these chemicals for more than 50 years, the EPA’s hyperactive regulatory machine threatens to render these important crop protection tools useless in controlling weeds on 90 percent of the acres in the U.S. Weigh in on how EPA’s draft Ecological Risk Assessments put farmers at an economic disadvantage and submit your own comments before October 4, 2016, at http://sorghumgrowers.com/sorghumalert.

July 7, 2016

Trade Team Stops in Texas—Last week, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers (TGSP) hosted a team of leading Chinese sorghum importers and feed millers during the trade teams time in Texas. Members of the team were hand-selected by U.S. Grains Council staff in China and represent organizations that purchased 2.5 million metric tons (98 million bushels) of China’s total U.S. sorghum imports in the 2014/2015 marketing year.

“It is vital that Texas Sorghum maintain clear lines of communication and strong relationships with our Chinese end users,” said Wayne Cleveland, TGSP executive director. “This trade mission allowed the team to put a face with sorghum production, to ask producers questions and learn more about effective ways to incorporate sorghum into feed rations.”

During their time here the trade team made stops in South Texas. James Kamas, Clarence Chopelas and Darrell Bowers met with the group and walked through fields, where sorghum was in varying stages leading up to harvest. The producers answered production questions and some of the team members were even able to ride a combine as sorghum was harvested. The team also visited Boening Brothers Diary, where they include popped sorghum in rations. They were also interested in learning more about handling logistics so multiple elevator stops were included as well as a tour of Louis Dreyfus and the Port of Houston.

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Clarence Chopelas discussed sorghum harvest and farming practices with the team at his farm near Mathis.

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Scott Boening showed the team popped sorghum used at his dairy.

A Sticky Situation— One of the more difficult questions our industry faces is how – in light of robust yields and broad international demand – can low farm prices continue to render agriculture operations unprofitable? This question, NSP’s John Duff explains in this year’s spring edition of Sorghum Growers Magazine, begets a series of narrower questions that help to explain why commodity prices remain so sticky and what conditions might engender a more bullish outlook.

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In this piece, Duff identifies a handful of variables that, when weighed in relation to commodity price through a process called regression analysis, can explain most of the variance in commodity pricing. The above chart demonstrates how 83% of the variance in commodity prices can be explained by the price of gold. John goes on to show how this analysis can be used to construct a set of upper and lower bounds within which future prices can be expected to fall. It’s important to remember that these findings are predicated on a series of assumptions that are always subject to change. To better understand those assumptions and how they’re projected to affect future commodity prices, read the rest of Duff’s piece here.

Market Perspectives— The following report is from the week ending June 23, 2016. The updated export sales report will be available in next week’s edition of Market Perspectives or on July 8, 2016 via USDA/FAS’ website. Sorghum: Net sales of 84,600 MT for 2015/2016 were down 50 percent from the previous week and 38 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases reported for China (112,600 MT, including 53,000 MT switched from unknown destinations and decreases of 1,400 MT) and Colombia (25,000 MT), were partially offset by reductions for unknown destinations (53,000 MT). Exports of 56,300 MT were up noticeably from the previous week, but down 33 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were China (53,100 MT) and Mexico (3,200 MT). To read the entire Market Perspectives, provided by the US Grains Council, click here.

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Comment Today on Need for Atrazine, Propazine–Atrazine and propazine are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite science-based regulations demonstrating the safety of these chemicals for more than 50 years, the EPA’s hyperactive regulatory machine threatens to render these important crop protection tools useless in controlling weeds on 90 percent of the acres in the U.S. Weigh in on how EPA’s draft Ecological Risk Assessments put farmers at an economic disadvantage and submit your own comments before October 4, 2016, at http://sorghumgrowers.com/sorghumalert.

June 24, 2016

Triazine Comment Period Extended—On Tuesday June 21, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the request from NSP and TGSA to extend the public comment period for the recently updated Atrazine, Propazine, and Simazine risk assessments. We are pleased that the EPA was receptive to our plea to appreciate the inherent inequity of demanding that growers take time out of the busy summer season to defend their livelihood. Comments are now due to the EPA on Oct. 4, 2016. In the coming weeks, TGSA will coordinate further action with NSP. We will be engaging our newly formed delegate body – especially the Regulatory Committee – in order to maximize the number of producers voices that are heard. Expect to hear from us with assistance on how to write and submit comments, as well as which talking points to focus on.

Sorghum Feeding Seminars Held in Peru – With 30 million people and a GDP growth rate of 5.1% Peru represents one of the greatest export opportunities of grain sorghum in South America.  “Where we see economic growth in a market the first spending increase generally occurs at home with an animal protein enhanced diet,” said Wayne Cleveland.  “In the case of Peru, their animal feed operations, as well as dairies, are expanding at a fast pace to service that market.”  The two seminars, held in Lima and Trujillo, focused on the use of grain sorghum in feeding rations along with the use of Distillers Dry Grains.  On hand to give presentations were nutritionists from Tyson Foods, South Dakota State University and the National University of Mexico.  In addition to nutritional information pricing, availability and transportation concerns were addressed by the US Grains Council, Russell Marine Group and the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers.  The seminars were sponsored by the US Grains Council and Foreign Ag Service (FAS).

Wayne Cleveland presenting to Peruvian end-users in Trujillo

Wayne Cleveland presenting to Peruvian end-users in Trujillo

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