2015/2016 Sorghum Harvest and Export Quality Report

B. U.S. Sorghum Use and Ending Stocks

  • Beginning in the 2013/2014 marketing year (MY13/14), Chinese imports of U.S. sorghum increased rapidly. As a result of Chinese demand, the U.S. exported approximately 9.0 mmt (352.9 mil bu) of sorghum in MY14/15. This was the highest value for total exports in a single marketing year on record and represented more than 80% of the total U.S. sorghum crop. This demand created price premiums on corn in many parts of the United States, and led to reduced domestic consumption of sorghum for feed and ethanol uses.
  • The amount of sorghum used for food, seed and industrial purposes in MY14/15 was much lower relative to MY11/12, MY12/13 and MY13/14, largely due to sorghum’s decreased use in ethanol production.
  • Despite the spike in export demand for U.S. sorghum and the 2011 crop being the smallest crop in more than 50 years, domestic consumption of sorghum for feed and residual uses remained fairly constant over the past four completed marketing years.
  • The smaller 2012 corn crop, due not only to the drought, but also to sorghum’s substitutability with corn, drew the MY12/13 sorghum ending stocks to their lowest level in 50 years. While a large crop in MY13/14 helped rebuild ending stocks, the spike in export demand for U.S. sorghum, peaking in MY14/15, again drew ending stocks down to the third-lowest level in the past 50 years.