U.S. Plains farmers bet on sorghum as Chinese demand lifts prices


Reuters – U.S. farmers are poised to expand plantings of sorghum by nearly 20 per cent this year, a far larger percentage than soy or corn acres, as the crop purchased mainly by China for use in animal feed and to make baiju liquor trades at a premium.

Although strong demand for corn and soybeans lifted futures prices of those crops to near-decade highs, farmers said sorghum is particularly appealing this year as it is more resistant to drought.

A rally in commodity crops has been driven by Chinese imports of feed grains, as the country’s hog herd recovers from a deadly pig disease. But continued demand is uncertain as China is also trying to reduce its reliance on imported crops like corn.

“China is the joker in the deck. Maybe it even represents two jokers, because it is such a big player,” said Kent Winter, president of the Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, who farms outside Wichita.

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