For 2019 planting considerations, commodity market volatility can weigh heavily on a customer’s decision-making process. The sorghum market has had its share of ups and downs in 2018.
This spring, sorghum trading to China (U.S. number one market) stopped after their announcement of a “178.6 percent anti-dumping deposit.”1 After much political discussion, later in May, an article from Farm Policy News stated that, “China lifts sorghum tariffs, agrees to purchase more U.S. goods; U.S. suspends tariff implementation.”2 This was a positive message to sorghum producers. Another positive came when the USDA announced trade relief funds for farmers.3
Bottom line, there are several factors that impact and drive crop commodity prices that growers can’t control. What can sorghum growers control? Growers have 100 percent control over product selection and management. Market factors do not change the fact that sorghum (Figure 1) is a sound cropping choice in drought-stressed/dryland fields, replants in corn fields where inputs limit the use of soybean, or delayed springs where corn may no longer be a consideration. Regardless of the “why” sorghum is being planted, decisions to maximize sorghum yield potential and return on investment are musts.
Cropping decisions can be a challenge when we are in a distressed market. As with the annual seasonal challenges we face from Mother Nature, our best line of defense continues to be sound management practices focused on maximizing the return on the acres we plant.
1 Crist, D. 2018. Defending U.S. sorghum from trade retaliations. Sorghum Grower, Summer 2018. National Sorghum Producers.
2 Good, K. 2018. China lifts sorghum tariffs, agrees to purchase more U.S. goods; U.S. suspends tariff implementation. Farm Policy News. University of Illinois. https://farmpolicynews.illinois.edu.
3 USDA announces trade relief funds for farmers. 2018. Press Release. National Sorghum Producers. August 27, 2018. https://sorghumgrowers.com. Web sources verified 11/9/18.