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Peruvian livestock may soon feast on U.S. sorghum, thanks to work last week by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to detail the economic and nutrition advantages of the crop during a conference in Lima.
From a trade perspective, Peruvian importers can purchase U.S. sorghum without an import tariff, per the existing free trade agreement between the United States and Peru, an immediate advantage against corn of any origin.
In addition, U.S. sorghum has little or no tannins, a purposeful plant breeding shift that maximizes the nutrient digestibility of sorghum in livestock and provides a considerable advantage over sorghum from competitors like Argentina and Brazil.
U.S. sorghum also is less susceptible to breakage, contains fewer mycotoxins and has a longer shelf life in hot and humid conditions. As a result, sorghum is a cost effective addition to rations for broiler chickens and laying hens, requiring only slight dietary adjustments that do not increase cost.
During a recent conference, a similar event last year and visits to key decision makers during the summer, Dr. Carlos López, nutritionist and professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico, explained how to adjust the formulation of poultry diets to take full advantage of the nutritional qualities of sorghum.
For example, high tannins reduce the nutritional advantages of sorghum for livestock, so López scientifically demonstrated decades of performance feeding animals tannin-free sorghum varieties planted in the United States, breaking down a strong misconception based on unfavorable results decades ago.
With all these factors combined, USGC staff and consultants estimate the Peruvian poultry industry would reduce input costs by an estimated $10 million if buyers there shifted 30 percent of feed consumption to U.S. sorghum.
“In Peru, previous experiences with high-tannin varieties created a huge barrier,” said Luis Bustamante, USGC marketing specialist for the Western Hemisphere. “Attendees realized Peru has great opportunities to use sorghum and that it is a smart supply decision for the poultry companies of Peru that aspire to form a world-class industry.”
Meeting attendees represented 95 percent of the Peruvian poultry industry as well as representatives from universities, trade, dairy and swine industries. This wide participation showed the strong interest in the grain among local buyers and end-users.
“We received very positive feedback from potential importers on their intention to buy sorghum,” said Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade. “Local traders informed us that they are receiving requests for quotes for the product in a regular basis.”
For more information about USGC sorghum promotion, visit here.