Sponsored By
Farm Progress

China imports U.S. sorghum to feed ducks, make baijiuChina imports U.S. sorghum to feed ducks, make baijiu

“And as the economy grows, the grain of choice is grain sorghum. They buy over half of the grain sorghum grown in the states. They would probably buy it all this coming year."

Shelley E. Huguley

February 2, 2018

2 Min Read

In March, the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers board, in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council, is taking 15 farmers and merchants to China to attend the 13th JCI Spring Conference on Chinese Feed Raw Materials Market & IFFO/JCI Fishmeal and Fish Oil Forum, thanks to a Step Grant through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“I think the market will be better this year because China is back in the market,” says Wayne Cleveland, executive director for TGSP. “What we want is for growers to come back and convey to farmers here that the markets are there. When you go to these meetings, it’s a feeding frenzy— that’s how bad they want grain sorghum in China. It’s unbelievable.”

China uses grain sorghum to produce their state liquor called baijiu. “So at the first of the year, the government determines how many celebrations there will be and how much baijiu is needed for those celebrations,” says Cleveland. “And as the economy grows, the grain of choice is grain sorghum. They buy over half of the grain sorghum grown in the states. They would probably buy it all this coming year. It’s crazy.”

Baijiu means "white (clear) alcohol" or liquor, and is a strong distilled spirit, generally 52 percent alcohol by volume (US: 104° proof). As one of the top distilled liquors in the world, baijiu is distilled from fermented sorghum and is the only liquor to use solid grain material in the fermentation process, according to CNS Imports website.

“What we’re trying to do is get our growers and our merchants to come back and say, ‘this is real.’ We want the merchants to buy the grain and we want the growers to grow it. It goes back to profitability,” says Cleveland, who adds there will be 600 to 700 feed ingredient buyers at the conference. “We also try to put people together, non-traditional trade routes, like containers or a port, that traditionally don’t export to China. That’s a big part of the grant.”

The TGSP group will fly into Guangzhou, China, where they will attend and speak at the conference. Next, the group will fly to Shanghai where they will attend more conferences, make calls, and possibly visit a baijiu processing plant, says Cleveland.

See Sorghum makes NASCAR debut, http://bit.ly/2Ew3Bjl

But liquor isn’t China’s only use for grain sorghum. The country also uses U.S. grain sorghum to raise their ducks. “Sorghum Checkoff did a study. We were over there three years ago and a guy said, ‘I think grain sorghum is making my duck productivity better by 25 percent.’ So, in China, their favorite cuts of the duck are the neck and the gizzard. Sorghum makes the gizzards 25 percent bigger,” explains Cleveland. “Imagine making the loin on a steer bigger just by changing the feed. That was a producer-funded study, which goes back to checkoff. So now they compete with the baijiu makers to buy grain sorghum. You really can’t make these things up.”

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions that have to be made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such a Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like