Though North Carolina has been the leader in increased grain sorghum acreage, Virginia is growing and South Carolina is likely to have a big increase in sorghum acreage this year.

“South Carolina may be well ahead of Virginia in sorghum acreage. Last year, when I was in North Carolina, about a third of the sorghum I purchased came from South Carolina,” he adds.

Clemson University Small Grains Specialist David Gunter says the total acreage of sorghum in South Carolina is not clear and probably won’t be until FSA records are complete after harvest. However, he notes a sharp increase in interest among growers.

“For the first time in many years, we have a good market for grain sorghum,” Gunter says.

“Not only is demand there from Murphy-Brown, but also from smaller, local grain buyers who have been willing to offer similar prices for sorghum.

“As a result of demand, more growers planted sorghum this year and likely more planted it as an option to double-crop soybeans, which were delayed in some areas of the state by excessive rainfall,” Gunter says.

While the unusual rainfall pattern that has plagued many areas of the Upper Southeast this year will definitely hurt production of most crops, it may significantly increase sorghum acreage, especially in Virginia, where about half the state’s soybean crop is grown in a double-crop with wheat.

Harvest of wheat was significantly pushed back, providing many growers with a tough choice of whether to plant soybeans or go with grain sorghum.

Across the region, the interest among growers in grain sorghum is on the increase and when the final numbers come in, the crop could move up several notches in terms of acres planted.

rroberson@farmpress.com