Over the years, sorghum has progressively lost terrain to corn. Sorghum
world demand has been replaced for others feed grains. According to
IGC, global sorghum consumption is expected to reach its lowest level
in the last four years in the 2017/18 marketing year.
In Argentina, sorghum is mostly used as animal feed, while its exports have
lost importance in the last recent years. According to Minagri, total
exports from Argentina in the 2016/17 MY will be around 300,000 tons; three
time less than in the 2014/15 season.
The 2014/15 was a particular season given that China started importing
Argentinian sorghum, which boosted expectations for new. However, it was an
isolated fact that represented 89,000 tons. Argentina’s main export
destination for sorghum is Japan, which accounts for 68% of total sales,
but its purchases have been decreasing over the last season.
Argentina ranks 3rd as a global sorghum exporter with 9% of
market share, preceded by EE.UU (75%) and Australia (12% of total exports).
Both of countries’ competitiveness is boosted given their short distance to
consumption points. The following IGC chart shows FOB prices evolution of
the main origins during the last year.
In Argentina, the decline of sorghum prices, the lack of market liquidity
and the competitiveness of corn for animal feed discourage the farmer from
sowing sorghum. It is estimated that the sowing area in the 2017/18 season
could drop to its lowest level in 9 years.
It is important to mention that given the quality of its soils, Argentina
has the potential to become one of the main sorghum producers if the
agribusiness atmosphere allows it. Sorghum requires a low initial
investment and can support extreme weather conditions (like thermo-hydric
stress), being a good alternative for poor soils.
Sorghum can also be used in the production of bioethanol and biogas to
diversify the Argentinian energy matrix. In this sense, we should highlight
the work of INTA, which promotes genetic improvements aiming at greater
productivity and specific uses.