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Niche Sorghum Markets Add Value A

pproximately 31.5 percent of U.S. grown sorghum was used as live- stock feed in 2010. In addition,

dried distillers grains (DDGs), a byprod- uct from the sorghum ethanol produc- tion process, give value to the crop as they have also been used as a viable feed prod- uct for catt le, swine and poultry.

In fact, sorghum is the second most used cereal grain behind corn for commercial growers of broilers, turkeys and egg lay- ers in regions in the U.S.

A ‘natural’ fi t

Companies raising livestock and poul- try for niche markets seeking all-nat- ural products, for example, have also found success with grain sorghum.

Buddy’s Natural Chicken, a family- owned poultry processor in Gonzales, Texas, has been feeding sorghum for more than 20 years.

The fact that sorghum is GMO-free, en- vironmentally friendly and locally avail- able led company founder Buddy Linde- man to use grain sorghum as part of the poultry operation’s grain-based diet.

“I think the protein level is bett er in grain sorghum, and it off ers some qualities that corn does not,” said Buddy’s son, David Lindeman, who took over the family business in the Texas Hill Coun- try after his father passed away in 2002.

Buddy claimed the grain-based diet was naturally lower in fat and provided su- perior fl avor when compared with tra- ditional poultry diets. David says grain sorghum helps produce an overall more desirable, whiter meat with fi rmer fat.

SORGHUM Grower Spring 2011

“We switched to corn in 2008 because milo wasn’t available around here at the time,” David said. “But we switched back to milo because the bird quality was not as good when we fed corn.”

Feeding guides

In 2010, the Sorghum Checkoff re- leased the publication “Sorghum in Poultry Production Feeding Guide”, which further details sorghum’s nu- trient composition and its feeding val- ue in poultry operations. The poultry guide, as well as guides for beef, dairy and swine, can be found online at Sor- ghumCheckoff .com or a copy may be requested by calling (877) 687-8727.

Not just for livestock

The livestock sector may be a ma- jor player within U.S. sorghum mar- ket distribution, but catt le, swine and poultry aren’t the only animals ben- efi ting from sorghum. Dogs, cats and even fi sh and shrimp are also becom- ing consumers of the grain.

Interest from the pet food and aqua- culture industries continues to grow as other sectors learn about the nutrition- al qualities sorghum off ers as a feed.

“These types of animal feed markets are still relatively small compared to the larger livestock markets, but they do add value to the crop and show there is a general increase in sorghum interest,” said Florentino Lopez, marketing di- rector for the Sorghum Checkoff . “Sor- ghum provides a cost competitive feed ingredient, but it also has a lot of other redeeming qualities.”

Sorghum Markets By Kirby Carpenter and Lindsay Kennedy

Protein is the single largest expense for aquaculture operations, leading re- searchers in the South to begin study- ing the role sorghum and sorghum DDGs can play as a feed ingredient. Currently,

there are ongoing feeding

trials to determine the nutrient digest- ibility of sorghum DDGs for catfi sh and tilapia, while sorghum as a feed option for shrimp is also being investigated.

Meanwhile, pet food companies like IAMS® have been using grain sor- ghum for carbohydrate blends in dog and cat foods.

Regardless of the animal, sorghum is fi nding its place as an excellent protein feed source.

For more information about Buddy’s

Natural Chicken, visit or call 800-750-3407.


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