Historical shipment of U.S. sorghum marks China's first purchase of the grain for animal feed.
THE first-ever bulk shipment of U.S. sorghum to China berthed and began unloading Oct. 18 at the Guangzhou Port Facility.
U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff, representatives of buyers and sellers, port officials and a U.S. government representative arrived on the scene to celebrate the unloading and witness this historical event in the growing U.S.-China agricultural trading relationship.
The shipment of 2.36 million bu. is designated for animal feed and 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."
With several more cargos on the way, USGC sources indicate that 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 43.3-47.2 million bu.," said Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade. "Traders estimate that the 2013-14 crop year should register sales of 63 million bu. 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, USGC, 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 U.S.
One local Chinese trader said in an interview that these programs are directly attributable to the rapid development of the sorghum market in China.
USGC chairman Julius Schaaf said, "With China's meat consumption growing and subsequent growth in feed demand, the United States is in a unique position, both in its capacity to produce and its variety of products, to respond and meet China's feed grain needs."