Sorghum, the “forgotten” cereal for poultry

We always hear about corn, the main driver of the grain market. But in some countries, like Mexico, sorghum, or milo, is still around, playing a role in the animal feed industry.

According to GCMA analysts, the global sorghum production forecast for 2022/23 is 62.4 million tonnes, “just 105,000 above the 2021/22 crop”. This is due to the combination of a lower US harvest and higher production in Sudan.

China is the main factor contributing to world demand, with 86% of world trade (9.5 million MT).

GCMA analysts say global consumption is forecast at 62.9 million metric tons, an increase of 1.9% from the previous crop. This increase is due to higher demand from Sudan, Mexico and Nigeria. In addition, the outlook for world trade is 11 million metric tonnes, 11% lower than last year’s exports.

One of the advantages of growing sorghum is that it tolerates lack of irrigation and can be grown in areas not conducive to maize. In Latin America, it appears that only Mexico and Argentina are producing sorghum at 4.9 million tonnes and 2.3 million tonnes respectively for 2022/23. Mexico imports 200,000 metric tons from the United States. Even so, Mexican imports of milo from the United States have fluctuated, trending downward over the past five years.

So what about the rest of the countries? Why don’t they use, grow or import sorghum? Yeah, they’ll tell me it’s a cost, of course, but if about a quarter of the food in Mexico is made with sorghum, I think that’s doable and appropriate.

Having a nutritional value of 90% to 100% (96% being the most common) compared to maize, it might be good to reconsider the use of sorghum. And there is even another advantage, at least for Mexico and other Latin American countries: there is no competition with human consumption. This can happen with corn, although white corn – the kind used for human consumption – is not regularly used for food.

What do you think?

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