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Sorghum steps up as drought decimates Australian wheat

As drought conditions continue apace in Australia causing wheat production to fall off, increased demand for sorghum from China combined with the grain’s hardiness and low-cost production is providing Australian farmers with an alternative crop.

Over the past year, sorghum production in Australia increased by 70% to 2.2 million tons according to government data reports Food Navigator, and demand is only expected to continue to strengthen.

“The total area of sorghum in Australia increased by 37% in 2014-15 to 730,000 hectares, up from 532,000 in 2013-14, resulting in record high areas of sorghum,” Katie Hutt with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) told Food Navigator.

While wheat production was seen falling in Western Australia due to adverse weather conditions, and in South Australia due to drought, demand from Asia was supporting increased sorghum output.

“ABS export data reflects the increase in production with a higher demand from China, which accounted for the majority of Australian sorghum exports in 2014-15,” said Ms. Hutt.

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