U.S. Grains Council staff on Friday oversaw the shipment of 2.36 million bushels of U.S. sorghum to China, a first-ever delivery of sorghum to the country.
Council representatives said the shipment demonstrates the continuing modernization of China's feed industry.
"China's sophisticated feed industry has the capacity to explore different feed ingredients and evaluate their effectiveness in a highly competitive environment," said Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China.
"The Council believes U.S. sorghum has significant potential to become a regular feed ingredient in China. Sorghum imports from the United States can help keep food prices low and improve China's overall food security," he added.
With several more cargos on the way, Council sources indicate China could purchase a significant share of the 2013 U.S. crop.
"As of this month there are approximately 20 Panamax vessels sold of U.S. sorghum to China, which represents around 1.1 to 1.2 million tons (43.3 to 47.2 million bushels)," said Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade. "Traders estimate that the 2013/14 crop year should register sales of 1.6 million tons (63 million bushels) or more."
Restrictions on corn imports through China's tariff rate quota are providing a prime opportunity for the Council to help China's feed industry and livestock producers seek a wider variety of options, including U.S. sorghum.
In September, the Council, along with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, provided technical seminars and assistance to help the industry understand the nutritional value of sorghum, how to incorporate it into feed formulations and the potential for future sorghum export supplies from the United States.