U.S. Sorghum Exports Fall Precipitously
13.01.2023 06:26 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) —
U.S. sorghum exports for 2022/23 are forecast down 1.5 million tons to 2.5 million (Oct-Sep), the lowest since 2018/19 and the second-lowest volume of the last decade. The flagging export prospects come on the heels of the smallest sorghum crop since 1944/45 at just under 4.8 million tons. Dry conditions in Kansas and Texas, two major sorghum-producing states, negatively impacted yields and overall production.
The stark impact of lower supplies is evident in export volumes for the October to December period.
Last year, the United States exported a total of 1.5 million tons of sorghum over these 3 months. This year, Census data shows just under 300,000 tons for October and November combined, while Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) data for December shows inspections for export of just 64,000 tons. The
3 months total 360,000 tons, a 77-percent decline year over year. Per Export Sales Reporting, total commitments of sorghum to the world for the current marketing year are just 361,000 tons versus 5.3 million tons at the same time a year ago.
China is by far the world’s largest importer and the top destination for U.S. sorghum. The steep decline in total commitments represents the near-evaporation of China’s sorghum demand from the United States; in an October GAIN report, FAS/Beijing reported quotes of over $500/ton for imported U.S.
sorghum at major ports in China, about $100/ton higher than a year ago. China has diversified its sourcing of grain, with the United States continuing to face competition from Argentina and Australia in the sorghum market. This year, U.S. sorghum must also compete against a larger pool of origins for corn.
In May 2022, an agreement was reached that would allow Brazilian corn to be exported to China. The fruits of this agreement were borne out last month as Brazil reported 1.1 million tons of exports to China, becoming the top market for Brazilian corn in December. With Brazil corn exports winding down seasonally in the next few months and Ukraine corn exports still dependent on the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, competition from corn in China’s grain market may ease slightly, but by all appearances, 2022/23 is expected to be a rough year for U.S. sorghum.