Harvest Quality Highlights
The 2016 sorghum growing season experienced generally favorable weather conditions during the growing season, resulting in slightly higher average yields than in 2015. However, fewer planted acres in 2016 produced a U.S. sorghum crop of 11.7 million metric tons (462 million bushels), an approximate 23% decrease in production from the 2015 crop. The 2016 harvest samples were, on average, good, with average moisture near-optimum for harvest moisture; no detectable levels of tannins; and averages for chemical and most physical traits within a recognized range in literature for U.S. sorghum. The 2016 U.S. sorghum crop entered the market channel with the following characteristics:
Grade Factors and Moisture
- Average test weight of 59.1 lb/bu (76.1 kg/hl), with 87.8% at or above the minimum limit for U.S. No. 1 grade sorghum, and 96.1% at or above the minimum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade sorghum.
- Relatively low levels of broken kernels and foreign material (BNFM) (1.8%), with 86.5% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 1 grade, and 97.3% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade.
- Average foreign material level of 0.6%, with 88.4% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 1 grade, and 98.8% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade.
- Low levels of total damage (average of 0.4%), with 96.4% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 1 grade, and 97.6% at or below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade.
- No observed heat damage, which could be attributed to no or minimal on-farm drying.
- Average elevator moisture content of 13.7%, a near-optimum level for harvest moisture, with 62.7% of the samples having 14% or less moisture content.
- Average protein concentration of 8.5% (dry basis), below 2015, but still within a recognized range of protein concentration values in literature for U.S. sorghum hybrids.
- Average starch concentration of 72.6% (dry basis), a value within recognized levels as reported in literature for any sorghum sample.
- Average oil concentration of 4.4% (dry basis), within a recognized range of oil concentration values in literature for U.S. sorghum hybrids, and similar to 2015.
- All samples had no detectable levels of tannins (below 4.0 mg CE/g).
- Average kernel diameter of 2.61 mm and average 1000-kernel weight (TKW) of 28.17 g, both higher than 2015, indicating slightly larger kernels in 2016.
Average kernel volume of 20.57 mm3, a value within a normal range reported in literature. This value was also slightly higher than 2015, confirming larger kernels in 2016.
- Average kernel true density of 1.370 g/cm3, within a range of values suitable for size reduction in feed preparation and higher than 2015.
- Average kernel hardness index of 67.1, lower than 2015, possibly implying less energy needed for grinding this year’s crop compared to the 2015 crop on an equivalent weight basis, to a similar particle size.
- 100% of the 2016 sorghum harvest samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb total aflatoxins, the same as in 2015.
- 100% of the 2016 sorghum harvest samples tested below the 5 ppm FDA advisory level for DON (deoxynivalenol or vomitoxin), the same as in 2015.