With Soufflet, sorghum is progressing in new departments
Sorghum is experiencing a new boom in the areas of activity of seed collector Soufflet. Initially, this crop, little known to farmers in the Cher, Nièvre and Yonne regions, developed to the detriment of rapeseed. Over the past 2 years, the latter has been facing planting problems due to dry conditions and difficulties in controlling pests. Consequently, an alternative crop had to be found. The key criterion was to break the weed cycle in order to better manage weed control in cereals, while at the same time limiting the maize and sunflower acreage. In this context, sorghum, as a diversification crop, was preferred to winter flax.
Sorghum, an inexpensive crop
For farmers, sorghum has many advantages: apart from the fact that it breaks the weed cycle, it has low needs in water for a summer crop (even though it can also suffer in the event of a severe water deficit), it is not very sensitive to pests and does not require any specific investment. “This low investment in operating costs makes it a low cost crop. No additional investment is needed for sowing or harvesting,” says Soufflet. However, supporting farmers who discover sorghum is essential, as they need help to control sowing dates (“They tend to sow too early”) and to control summer weeding. Soufflet is developing tools and services to disseminate good practices (flash, experiments, field advice, etc.).
Animal feed and bird feeding
In terms of logistics, as sorghum is harvested at the same time as other crops in autumn, Soufflet has chosen to specialise drying sites in order to optimise installations and to avoid sites where sorghum would be mixed with sunflower or maize. The collection criteria are moisture, SW (Specific Weight), impurities, broken grains.
Currently, most of the sorghum produced at Soufflet is intended for livestock feed. And the niche market of bird breeding, with specific specifications, is developing. Tomorrow, Soufflet hopes that, thanks to genetic progress, it will be possible to have even earlier and more productive varieties to gain access other outlets (white sorghum).