USGC Programming Supports Chinese Sorghum Purchases

The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 2023 sorghum programming has sparked significant interest among Chinese coarse grain importers, serving to further solidify U.S. sorghum’s Chinese market share. The Council’s April 2023 trade mission to China and the corresponding Export Sorghum conference in June connected Chinese buyers responsible for roughly 70 percent of all exported sorghum purchases with U.S. merchants and suppliers. This programming gave U.S. sorghum’s largest customer a firsthand look into the care and specialization applied to U.S. sorghum cultivation, reinforcing U.S. producers’ reputation for consistently providing the world’s highest quality grain sorghum. The weeks following USGC’s China-focused sorghum programming saw immediate increases in export figures.

“USGC’s programming has China buyers talking about U.S. origin sorghum and buying large quantities,” said Jace Hefner, USGC manager of global trade. “With domestic feed costs increasing in China, the premium for U.S. sorghum is being driven by demand for baijiu – the most widely consumed spirit in the world. But demand from the livestock industry remains strong as well. We anticipate these purchases continuing through the fall of 2023.”

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Global Agricultural Trade System (USDA GATS) data, sorghum continues to maintain a 10-year average total trade value more than $1.3 billion. In this 10-year time frame, China has maintained its stronghold in U.S. sorghum purchasing. China currently represents 80.7% of the total trade value in U.S. sorghum purchases.

World sorghum production is expected to increase in the new marketing year, mainly due to expected U.S. production increase. The U.S. will represent roughly 15 percent of the world’s production total and more than 60 percent of the world’s sorghum exports.

China continues to demand sorghum for baijiu production and its feed and livestock industry sees U.S. sorghum as an economical feed ingredient as well.

“U.S. sorghum farmers consistently produce the highest quality sorghum on the market, and overseas buyers can’t get enough,” Hefner said. “The Council will continue programming focused on preserving sorghum’s majority market share in China, as well as cultivating new export markets around the world.”