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From the Field


From the Field


Scates Family Shawneetown, Illinois


1. What markets exist for your sorghum? How do you market your sorghum? We have to haul our sorghum about 30 miles away. T ere are very few locations in our local area. Bunge is a big elevator, but they don’t accept it because there is just not enough grown. We haul it to Cargill or CGB. We just sell it on the open market. We don’t really make a futures contract or anything like that because we don’t have enough to make a big enough sale to where we can gain a lot. Unless we see the basis moving in a positive direction or a negative, we might lock it in or wait just a bit to set the basis. In the past, we’ve used sorghum to off set our corn contracts if we have a fl ood we can use sorghum to off set those contracts when we don’t have enough corn.


2.What challenges do you deal with at harvest? If we get delayed in planting our sorghum, it doesn’t dry down, especially if we get an early frost. T e moisture is high and tends to stay high for a while sometimes because we plant near the rivers. Like soybeans, it takes until 12-1 o’clock some days to harvest if you don’t want to take a hit at the elevator on too high moisture. T ose are primarily our biggest challenges when it comes to harvest time.


3. Do you utilize on-farm storage for your sorghum? Why or why not? We do not because in the past it has been diffi cult to get out


SORGHUM Grower Fall 2015


of the bin, and we don’t raise enough to need to put it in a storage bin. Our grain driers are set up for corn, so we get them set right, and we don’t like to change the calibration. T e guys that do get a premium for it.


4. How did the 2015 crop yield? Any surprises? It didn’t yield nearly as well as we hoped for or planned, but I understand why. We had super heavy rains right aſt er planting all the way through June. T ere were three rivers in our area that all fl ooded. Some sorghum was under water three diff erent times.


I guess I am surprised by it because it did survive. It was hardy, and we actually got a decent crop—130 bushel on a crop that was completely under rain water three different times. We were very disappointed in the growing season but not sorghum itself. It is just what was thrown at us. It was just not good year for corn, beans or wheat in our area.


5. Did you encounter the sugarcane aphid this growing season? If so, how did it affect your crop? No, we did not see it, and I did not notice it. I did hear our neighbor to the north did, so I plan to be more vigilant in scouting next year and see if we notice it.


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