By Lariena Nokes
A “Sorghum School” was presented by Kansas State University at the Shears Technology Center on Feb. 12.
Farmers and ranchers were instructed in crop production practices, weed control strategies, insect management, sorghum markets and profitability prospects, nutrient fertilizer management, and Kansas online mesonet weather resources.
Dry land and irrigated grain farmers learned how to properly manage sorghum efficiently with the growing conditions in Kansas.
American farmers produce the food, fuel, feed and fibers that make our style of living possible. American farmers also feed, cloth, and supply much of the rest of the worlds needs.
Ignaciao Ciampitti, assistant professor at Kansas State University, presented crop production practices. Grain sorghum also know as “milo” is a starch-based grain crop used for cattle feed, processed at ethanol plants.
Food grade sorghum is eaten as a grain and processed into gluten free flour with cooking and baking properties much like wheat flour.
The cost input verses crop output has been studied statistically and with on-farm observations.
Doug Shoup, Assistant Professor Kansas State University, presented weed control strategies.
“There are no positive insects that will help with Chinch bugs,” he said.
Bill Golden, research assistant professor at Kansas State University, presented 2015 sorghum markets and profitability prospects. With the world market playing an ongoing roll in the American production of sorghum the market prices are valuable information for farmers.
“These are my numbers,” Golden said “I live with them and stand by them.”
Historically, Mexico was the largest dependable market for American grain sorghum—and China was among a group of off shore countries that grain sorghum was exported to.
With the changes in the markets and the value of sorghum on the commodities markets, some sorghum growers are worried that Kansas ethanol plants will revert to buying corn for processing. China presents a useful but not totally stable market for American grain sorghunow.
The Chinese market for corn seemed limitless until the corn was rejected and the Chinese sited genetically modified seed modification as the reason.
The December 2013 rejection of genetically modified corn by China resulted in increased sorghum prices and an open market in America and in China for American sorghum. With the market open, effective growing practices for sorghum hold economic power.
Dorivar Ruiz Diaz, who teaches soil fertility and nutrient management at Kansas State University, presented Nutrient Management.
Information about proper treatment and application of soil amendments at the correct times and its testable output were covered in great detail.
Chip Redmond, network manager for Kansas State University, introduced the Kansas online mesonet, which is a way for Kansas farmers to keep track of forecasts and review weather data.
Weather is such an important factor and the one cornerstone of farming that the producers have no control over.
The 2015 sorghum school at HCC was also attended by representatives from many agricultural corporations including: Syngenta, Huskie, Sorghum Partners, and the Sorghum Checkoff.