PRODUCTION

Production for 2015/16 is projected at 4.5 million tons. Planted area is expected to rebound somewhat from the previous year and back to 2013/14 levels. A combination of a lower investment than corn, the possibility of expanding to dryer areas and the good prices (relative to corn) paid this year will make farmers plant around one million hectares. Sorghum is an excellent crop but faces some difficulties which make many farmers avoid it. Bird attacks is a serious problem (even with high tannin hybrids), generally selling corn is easier than sorghum so some farmers prefer to plant "sons of corn hybrids" or late corn which is proving to be very good, with somewhat lower costs than early corn and quite stable yields. However, the recent sanitary protocol signed with China to export local sorghum is making local prices remain firm and opens new expectations for the future. A vessel of Argentine sorghum is already sailing to China and several large traders who were initially skeptical about the fulfillment of the signed protocol are now ready to make business. To date, the harvest of the 2014/15 sorghum crop is roughly ten percent finished, with average yields of around 5.0 tons per hectare.

CONSUMPTION

Domestic consumption for 2015/16 is forecast to remain unchanged at 2.9 million tons. A large share of the sorghum supply is normally used on-farm or in nearby operations for feeding beef and dairy cattle. Despite an expected rebound in livestock production, the possibility of exporting sorghum to new markets like China could turn prices upwards, making some producers look for less expensive feed alternatives.

TRADE

Argentine sorghum exports in 2015/16 are forecast at 1.5 million tons. Japan, followed by Chile, Saudi Arabia and Colombia have been historically the main destinations for local sorghum. However, in November 2014 the country signed a protocol with China to open its market to Argentine sorghum. At the beginning local traders were somewhat skeptical of doing business, but things have changed. It is quite troublesome because the sorghum to be shipped has to be immobilized for about 40 days until the local authority makes all the analysis previous to delivering the export certificate. In mid-March Argentina's sanitary authority approved the first shipload of 44,000 tons of sorghum which is already heading for China. If everything goes well, we could expect several more shipments. Local traders indicate that exports to this market could range between 300,000 and 500,000 tons a year.

STOCKS

Ending stocks for 2015/16 are forecast to remain practically unchanged at 834,000 tons.

Sorghum

2013/2014

2014/2015

2015/2016

Market Begin Year

Mar 2013

Mar 2014

Mar 2015

Argentina

USDA Official

New post

USDA Official

New post

USDA Official

New post

Area Harvested

1,000

1,000

850

850

0

1,000

Beginning Stocks

784

784

1,184

1,234

0

734

Production

4,400

4,400

4,000

3,800

0

4,500

MY Imports

0

0

0

0

0

0

TY Imports

0

0

0

0

0

0

TY Imp. from U.S.

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total Supply

5,184

5,184

5,184

5,034

0

5,234

MY Exports

1,300

1,250

1,400

1,400

0

1,500

TY Exports

953

953

1,500

1,500

0

1,500

Feed and Residual

2,300

2,300

2,500

2,500

0

2,500

FSI Consumption

400

400

400

400

0

400

Total Consumption

2,700

2,700

2,900

2,900

0

2,900

Ending Stocks

1,184

1,234

884

734

0

834

Total Distribution

5,184

5,184

5,184

5,034

0

5,234

1000 HA, 1000 MT, MT/HA