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- CRB Fundamentals - 2008 Commodity Articles

Grain Sorghum

Grain sorghums include milo, kafir, durra, feterita, and kaoliang. Grain sorghums are tolerant of drought by going into dormancy during dry and hot conditions and then resuming growth as conditions improve. Grain sorghums are a staple food in China, India, and Africa but in the U.S. they are mainly used as livestock feed. The two key U.S. producing states are Texas and Kansas, each with about one-third of total U.S. production. U.S. sorghum production has become more popular with the breeding of dwarf grain sorghum hybrids which are only about 3 feet tall (versus up to 10 feet tall for wild sorghum) and are easier to harvest with a combine. The U.S. sorghum crop year begins September 1.

Prices - The monthly average price for sorghum grain received by U.S. farmers through December of the 2007-08 marketing year (Sep 07-Aug 08) rose by +7.2% yr/yr to $6.37 per hundred pounds. The value of U.S. grain sorghum production in the 2006-07 marketing year is forecasted to rise +18.3% yr/yr to $871.9 million.

Supply - World production of sorghum in the 2006-07 (latest data available) marketing year is forecasted to fall -3.8% to 56.899 million metric tons, but to remain well above the 52.818 million metric ton crop in 2002-03 that was the smallest crop since 1968-69. U.S. grain sorghum production in 2006-07 is estimated at down -29.5% yr/yr to 277.538 million bushels. Sorghum acreage harvested in 2006-07 is estimated at down -13.9% to 4.937 million acres, which will be the smallest sorghum acreage to be harvested since the late 1930s. Yield will be about average in 2006-07 at 56.2 bushels per acre, but down from 12-year high of 69.8 bushels per acre posted in 2004-05.

Demand - World utilization (consumption) of grain sorghum in the 2006-07 (latest data available) marketing year fell -0.4% to 57.798 million metric tons, but that is still up from the 53.538 million metric ton utilization level seen in 2002-03, which was the lowest since 1967-68.

Trade - World exports of sorghum in the 2006-07 (latest data available) marketing year fell -13.0% to 4.720 million metric tons, which is a 4-decade low. U.S. exports in 2006-07 fell by -3.0% yr/yr to 3.810 million metric tons, and accounted for 81% of total world exports. Argentina is the world's other major exporter with 600,000 metric tons of exports in 2006-07, accounting for 13% of total world exports. Major world importers are Mexico with 48% of world imports and Japan with 28% of world imports.




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