Mar 01, 2024

Grain Sorghum Gaining Popularity in Brazilian Agriculture

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The production of grain sorghum is gaining popularity in Brazil as an alternative to safrinha corn production and as clean energy companies invest in new ethanol facilities that utilize grain sorghum as the raw material. The cost of producing grain sorghum is approximately 50% that of corn and prices paid for grain sorghum are approximately 80% to 85% that of corn. Additionally, grain sorghum is more tolerant to dry conditions compared to corn.

According to IBGE, grain sorghum acreage in Brazil increased 22% in 2023 from 1,030,866 hectares in 2022 to 1,260,355 hectares in 2023. Grain sorghum production in Brazil was 3,81 million tons in 2023 compared to 2.85 million in 2022.

The Inpasa Group announced that they will start purchasing grain sorghum during the second half of 2024 to produce ethanol in their new facility located in Sidrolandia, Mato Grosso do Sul. The R$ 2 billion facility will start operating before the end of 2024. At the end of 2023, Inpasa had announced they will start processing grain sorghum in the ethanol facility in Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul starting in July 2024. The Inpasa Group is one of the largest producers of clean renewable energy in Latin America.

Grain sorghum s also being evaluated by the Pindorama Cooperative in the state of Alagoas in northeastern Brazil as a raw material to produce ethanol. The cooperative feels grain sorghum is an effective way to boost profitability in their ethanol facility.

Embrapa, the Brazilian agricultural research service, considers grain sorghum as a viable alternative to corn production especially in the seme-arid regions of northeastern Brazil. Grain sorghum can be utilized for human and animal consumption as well as industrial uses such as ethanol production. Grain sorghum is one of the five most produced grain in the world after wheat, rice, corn, and barley.