Sorghum production down through most of Texas

PRODUCERS IN many areas of Texas have lost most of this season's sorghum crop due to drought conditions, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service reports.

"Grain sorghum has been devastated in the West Central region," said district Extension director Scott Durham in San Angelo. "It's been a brutal year for all crops."

Durham said grain sorghum, which usually makes a revenue of $6 million to $12 million dollars for the West Central region, will only bring in about $2 million this year. He said most sorghum will not even be harvested.

Tom Green County, which usually sees revenues of $1.5 million to $4 million from sorghum, has made less than $500,000 this year. "We're going to be harvesting a very limited amount of grain this year," said Durham. "Most will be grazed, baled or shredded."

According to the Agricultural Statistics Service, Texas producers plant about 3 million acres of grain sorghum each year. In 1999, sorghum netted $316 million statewide; this year that number is expected to be $15 million lower.

District Extension director Dr. Bob Robinsion in Amarillo said the annual rainfall in the Panhandle is six inches below normal, and temperatures are unseasonably high. The region has not received measurable rain since mid-July. "August is a very important month for sorghum," said Robinson. "Dryland sorghum simply did not receive enough rain during that month."

Robinson said 75 percent of the sorghum planted this year in the Panhandle will be lost. The harvest will be complete in the next two to three weeks. Producers did not plant a large amount of sorghum because of bleak profit prospects.

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