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USGC to Japan and Philippines: Why Not Sorghum?

by 5m Editor
8 June 2010, at 7:28a.m.

GLOBAL - The US Grains Council (USGC) recently embarked on an informational marketing campaign championing the advantages of US sorghum to feed millers in Japan and the Philippines.

The Council led informational workshops in each country where topics were addressed concerning myths about sorghum, as well as its nutritional value as an alternative feed ingredient. Dr R. Scott Beyer, of Kansas State University, and Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of international operations, presented the information in an effort to spark interest among end-users in each country.

"One of the main messages we delivered was the nutritional value of sorghum and why it is a better feed grain than many industry users have been led to believe," Dr Beyer said. "Sorghum is high in protein and comparative in feed value to that of corn when formulated to a least-cost feed ingredient. There is a myth that sorghum is a poor feed alternative, but this isn’t true," he said.

Other topics of discussion included the US sorghum supply and demand, as well as its reputation of having low mycotoxin rates and tannin levels; two areas of concern in Japan and the Philippines.The Council strategically timed its marketing campaign in the Philippines and Japan to coincide with international developments suggesting opportunity for the introduction of US sorghum into each market.

Due to its close proximity, Australia has traditionally been a major exporter of sorghum to Japan. However, limited supplies have created an opening for the United States to market sorghum to Filipino and Japanese poultry and swine producers. The Philippines imports between 300,000-1 million metric tons of feed grains (usually corn or wheat) per year to supplement domestic corn supplies, while Japan imports 800,000-1 million metric tons (31.4-39.4 million bushels) of sorghum per year.

"Now is a good time to educate feed millers in Japan and the Philippines about US sorghum as a high quality feed grain," Cordero said. "The combined marketing forces of the Council and United Sorghum Checkoff Program could help open the door for US sorghum’s entrance into each of these Asian markets."