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IGP offers sorghum harvest updates


The International Grains Program at Kansas State University has joined the United Sorghum Checkoff Program based in Lubbock, Texas, in an effort to educate consumers about grain sorghum's multi-purpose benefits as a commodity.

The project participants will submit grain sorghum samples for quality testing and the data will be mapped according to production regions and posted on the department's website, said Mark Fowler, IGP associate director.

In addition to mapping sorghum's regional quality attributes, IGP is working with producers from various sorghum production regions to provide updates as harvest progresses. The producer profiles and harvest updates will be available on the IGP website, www.grains.ksu.edu/IGP.

"As we have seen during wheat harvest, the producer profiles and harvest updates are popular with our international grain buyers and provide a glimpse into American crop production on a more personal level," Fowler said. "It also helps strengthen our relationship as they look to K-State for its leadership in the field of grain science."

As a grain sorghum producer near Amarillo, Texas, and a representative to the U.S. Grains Council, Troy Skarke is looking forward to sharing his insights into sorghum production with an international audience.

"For the past six years, I have worked with overseas directors to promote awareness of sorghum and educate foreign end users on the positive aspects of utilizing sorghum as a food product for human use as well as advantages of inclusion into feeding rations for livestock," Skarke said.

His comments were echoed by Jeff Casten, a Kansas producer from Quenemo, who sees the grain sorghum quality survey as an opportunity to communicate the benefits of the crop.

"Sorghum's primarily thought of as a feed for animals, but we're finding out through more research, that there are more uses for sorghum," Casten says. "Today we're seeing good demand in areas where ethanol plants are and they are using it. It's making the market change."

In providing harvest quality information and producer perspectives, the survey information and interpretation by IGP faculty will update grain buyers and potential processors on the quality attributes of the 2011 grain sorghum crop. The grain sorghum quality survey will begin in June starting with the grain sorghum harvest in Texas and will continue into the fall.

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