• GVP $158 million est. Up 431% yoy.
  • Yield up 29% on 10-year average.
  • China made up 75% market share of exports at $54.5 million.
Production was above average with good planting moisture, in crop rainfall and a soft season leading to a positive rebound for the industry post drought. Later planted sorghum was reported to fair better due to the timing of late rainfall, while mice plagued some crops towards the finish in some regions. Strong yields were reported, while price held up through strong demand and low stocks in the broader feed grain complex. Chinese demand for sorghum rebounded with supply, supported by grain demand for the pig herd rebuild in China after the outbreaks of African Swine Fever that have plagued the industry abroad.

Summer Crop Management Guide 2019

The NSW DPI Summer crop management guide includes the latest comprehensive information relevant to the major summer crop types grown in NSW. It includes variety selection, together with agronomic recommendations, in a format that is easy to use.

It aims to assist growers and advisers to make better decisions in summer crops to optimise production and profitability.


  • Grain sorghum
  • Maize
  • Mungbean
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower
  • Summer grain pest identification
  • Grain storage
  • Receival standards
  • Insecticide seed dressings

Consult your local agronomist or adviser for more specific advice.

More information
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Fall armyworm found in North Coast forage sorghum

Following the first detection of fall armyworm (FAW) in forage sorghum in NSW, North Coast Local Land Services (LLS) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) are urging producers to monitor crops for signs of FAW.

In NSW, the pest had previously only been seen in maize crops, but has recently been found in forage sorghum in the Cudgen area.

North Coast LLS Land Services Officer Donna Cuthel said while pheromone traps have been set up across the region to monitor populations, producers should be on the lookout for damage to crops.

“Landholders should be looking for windowing of leaves where larvae have hatched and small shot holes as leaves expand, caused by larvae feeding in the developing leaf whorl,” Ms Cuthel said.

Media Release
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Sorghum in a field
Sorghum production was boosted by the strong winter rainfall in 2020 which filled moisture profiles prior to planting in many of NSW growing regions. This combined with a soft growing season supported by timely in crop rainfall meant yields averaged 29% higher than the 10-year average at 3.8 tonnes/ha. 4 Solid rainfall was received in March prior to the crop reaching maturity, with reports of exceptional yields around the Liverpool Plains regions with yields reaching 7 to 8 tonnes/ha and even up to 10 tonnes/ha in some instances, however mice damage has been an issue for NSW producers particularly. 120 145

Although planted hectares were up significantly year on year, they were still down 13% on the 10-year average. The strong yields helped to offset the below average plantings with overall production being reported at 494 thousand tonnes, a 6.6% increase on the 10-year average production. 4


Sorghum prices have fallen from their in drought peaks by around 40% or approximately $183/tonne driven by a return to above average production levels. However prices have remained elevated for the majority of the year as strong demand for sorghum has emerged from both domestic the feed grain sector and the Chinese feed grain and alcoholic beverage sectors. 120

Compared to other coarse grains, sorghum pricing is strong. Sorghum typically trades at a $74/tonne discount to maize on average but ended the year close to parity with maize prices. Sorghum also extended the premium compared to barley, reaching peak premiums of around $95/tonne. Some sorghum has been delivered at lower grades than previous seasons with a softer season and some wet conditions around harvest contributing to sprouted grain. Reports have been received of discounts on lower quality grain around $45-$50/tonne which is mostly finding its way into poultry rations. 125

Sorghum and Coarse Grain Prices

  • Barley Feed
  • Sorghum Feed
  • Maize Feed
  • Sorghum Average
Source: ABARES (2021)

Sorghum and Coarse Grain Prices

  • Sorghum Vs Barley (Del. Sydney)
  • Sorghum Vs Maize (Del. Sydney)
Source: ABARES (2021)


NSW Sorghum Production and Exports

  • Exports
  • Production
Source: GTA (2021) , ABARES (2021)
Sorghum exports have recently been declining due to drought induced supply shortages culminating in almost non existent levels in 2019-20. Since then, sorghum production and exports have gained significant ground to reach $68.8 million in 2020-21 or 173.6 thousand tonnes, although a significant portion of the 2021 harvest is expected to also flow into the next fiscal year’s exports due to timing of the harvest operations. Some of NSW exports are likely to flow through Brisbane ports, and therefore may not be fully accounted in NSW exports statistics. 128

Demand from China has resurfaced, with this market taking almost 75% of the export market share by volume in 2020-21 with other smaller markets being Japan and Taiwan respectively. However, the major destination for NSW sorghum is the domestic feed grain market, being the largest consumer of NSW Sorghum. Compared to the national exports which consume 35% of national sorghum production, NSW sorghum exports makes up only 21.2% on average over the last 10 years. 128

Macroeconomic Conditions

While Australia produces a reasonable amount of sorghum depending on the season, globally production of sorghum is small compared to other feed grains such as maize which is roughly 17 times larger in annual production volume on average. This means that sorghum drivers are influenced heavily by other feed grains which have reached record global consumption levels across most major cereal grains including wheat, barley, maize, oats and sorghum in 2020-21. Global consumption of key coarse grains (maize, barley, oats and sorghum) outstripped production by 23.7 million tonnes in 2020-21, which is the fourth year in a row of production shortfalls in the coarse grain complex, and the largest supply shortfall since 2010-11. 207

China’s consumption of these coarse grains accounted for 22.3% of global consumption in 2020-21, and increased by 5.6% year on year. China’s demand for feed grain has increased as their pig herd begin to rebuild from African Swine Fever outbreaks driving demand for feed grains, but also to replenish their stocks of these grains which have declined 9.0%, or 20 million tonnes, from their peak levels in 2016-17. 207 Sorghum trade is disproportionately driven by imports to China, with the market accounting for 86.1% of global imports, with trade to China up 123% year on year but still short of imports in 2014-15.

Coarse Grain Production and Consumption m

  • Barley Cons.
  • Corn Cons.
  • Oats Cons.
  • Sorghum Cons.
  • Total Prod.
Source: USDA (2021)


Sorghum field
The outlook for domestic sorghum production is looking positive as above average winter rainfall has topped up the soil moisture profile in many sorghum producing regions, while continued strong sorghum prices are expected to be supportive of average to above average planted hectares. Globally production of sorghum is expected to rise while coarse grain production more generally is expected to hit new records. This is likely to be offset by rising demand for coarse grains, although ending stocks are expected to fall only slightly which may limit the upside to prices. 207