"Between our three plants, we grind 60 million bushels of grain a year and about half of that is grain sorghum," he said. "We love to buy what we can direct from farmers but we only have about 2 million bushels of storage at each plant, so obviously we have to buy stored grain throughout the year."
Stallman addressed the question of shattercane control in grain sorghum fields, saying that unfortunately there is no post-emergence herbicide that works to control the weed.
"The problem you face is a grassy weed in a grassy commodity crop," he said. "The best control is crop rotation to control the shattercane in other crops and starting with a good, clean field."
Some work is being done in an effort to develop herbicide tolerant grain sorghum but it has been hindered by concerns about the close relationship between grain sorghum and shattercane and goat grass, Stallman said, and the likelihood of outcrossing between the crop and the weeds that would create herbicide tolerant weeds.
Holman said the University of Nebraska has a joint project with DuPont, working on introducing desirable GMO traits in sorghum but the first releases are probably still a couple of years away.
Durler said the approval of grain sorghum as a potential advanced biofuel feedstock has caused a flurry of renewed interest among plant breeders and seed companies to produce sorghum with better yields, higher rates of starch to ethanol conversion and other agronomic qualities.
He said he forsees a day when sorghum will be able to compete bushel for bushel with corn in ethanol production.
Holman said that sorghum has lagged far behind other grains in research dollars he expects to see the increased interest in the crop to generate more acres of sorghum being grown,
"In any water challenged environment, sorghum offers an alternative," he said.